Kerry pub honoured for lifeline it extended to musicians during Covid

Mike the Pie’s music venue in Listowel wins Hot Press Special Recognition of Excellence Award – it’s fourth major award since 2017 from the famous mag

Siobhan, Allie, Hazel and Aiden O'Connor at Mike the Pies after receiving the Hot Press Venue of the Year Special Recognition Award this week. Photo by John Kelliher


MUSIC award nights usually involve the public celebrating the achievements of performers.

But this week, it is the musicians who are celebrating the recognition of a very public space in the heart of Listowel after Mike the Pie’s won the Special Recognition of Excellence gong at the Hot Press Awards.

For the pub was nominated for the award by some of the country’s top musical acts, eternally grateful for the lifeline proprietor Aiden O’Connor provided them throughout the latter stages of the pandemic.

Aiden, wife Siobhán and the couple’s two beautiful little daughters Hazel (3) and Allie (1) were thrilled to ad yet another prestigious plaque to the wall of the Upper William St bar.

“We were absolutely delighted with the award,” Aiden told The Kerryman.

“It’s the bands who nominate you so that makes it even more special.

“It’s great recognition for everything and it was largely on account of the State-funded gigs throughout Covid, as well as the podcast interviewing bands as well as a number of other things.”

Not least among them is the wonderfully intimate space that Mike the Pies continues to provide, allowing performers to connect with fans to an incredible degree.

There’s also the firstrate sound system operated by Paul ‘Cookie’ Doyle from Fossa. Indeed, Mike the Pies was also nominated for a Tech Crew of the Year award.

“The bands love Cookie,from the Fontaines DC down, he’s a perfectionist in everything he does and it makes all the difference.”

This was the fourth Hot Press award for the Listowel pub. Fontaines DC were central to one of the previous awards – their concert back in 2020 there winning Mike the Pies the coveted Hot Press Gig of the Year award then. Now one of the biggest bands on the planet, they still regard their Mike the Pies appearances as among their very best.

The pub won the Hot Press Live Venue commendation in 2017; but two years later took the Live Venue of the Year overall award.

And it’s just going from strength to strength with the gigs for the forseeable already sold out. “Things are picking up again and selling out fast with people feeling safer about going out once more.” They have meanwhile restarted their mailing list – at www.mikethepies. com – notifying fans of upcoming acts from the get-go.