Saturday 24 March 2018

Sligo was 'pivotal' for career of Stockton's Wing

Mike Hanrahan talks to the Sligo Champion about the band's return to Sligo

Jessica Farry

It's been a year of celebration for Clare based group Stockton's Wing, as they celebrate their 40th anniversary.

And with 2017 being a landmark year for the group, they are very much looking forward to making a return to Sligo for Sligo Live - a place that they say is close to their hearts.

Sligo has been huge for their career, says Mike Hanrahan of Stockton's Wing.

"We're really looking forward to coming back to Sligo, we played the Fleadh a few years ago. We used to play back in the 90s a lot. We started playing in the Blue Lagoon, the Baymount in Strandhill and The Glasshouse. We had certain towns that were like second homes to us and Sligo was always one of those," he told The Sligo Champion.

Damien Dempsey will join up with Stockton's Wing for an exciting Sligo Live double-bill in the Knocknarea Arena at IT Sligo on Bank Holiday Sunday, 29th October 2017. Tickets for this all seated concert are on sale at €29.50 + s.c. from, Ticketmaster and Hawk's Well Theatre (071 916 1518).

This isn't the first Sligo festival that they have played in.

"We played at the Boys of Ballisodare which was a great festival. We were a young band and it was pivotal for our career. Sligo is a place that means a lot to us and I'm not saying that as a tourist - it will be great to get back."

Celebrating their 40th anniversary, the group will be playing a lot of their hits when they visit Sligo, and focusing on one particular album.

"We did a few gigs in the summer as a celebration of 40 years of the band. We have no interest in taking over the world anymore so we'll be playing a back catalogue of songs and we have 10/11 albums so we'll be playing our hits and we will focus on one particular album. The Crooked Rose.

"We're looking forward to meeting up with Damien Dempsey too, I toured for ten years with Ronnie Drew, and Damien was with him as well for a while. Ronnie was very important for both of us and was a friend to both of us."

Mike, who decided to train as an organic chef less than a decade ago, started playing music as a teenager. He was in a band called Tumbleweed before the formation of Stockton's Wing in 1977.

"I left in 1994 but we used to get together when we could. Then a couple of years ago we met up and said we really should make something of our 40 year anniversary so we did."

Clare County Council will honour the group with a civic reception shortly, something that means a lot to Mike and his band members.

"There's been a lot of nice things since, we are going to be honoured by Clare County Council with a civic reception which is really a powerful thing from the County Council. It's been a wonderful time."

And, he jokes, having not written music for some time, Mike is back!

Social issues bother me, not political, I'm not a political writer. And like most songwriters I'm a romantic at heart, I like a good love song. I wasn't writing for a few years but I'm back now. I'm back with a bang!

Sligo Champion