By Elle Kelleher
The new year, meant to be full of hope and promise, has instead brought with it yet another blow to Cork’s creative and cultural scene: the closure of legendary arts and music hub, The Kino. As the city fought to maintain a soul amongst a slew of hotels and glass office eyesores, The Kino, from its days as The Frank & Walters Girl mural-clad indie cinema, to the incredible live music venue curated by The Good Room, stood as a marker of Cork’s individuality. A last true icon of defiance in a rebel county that was slowly melting into a poor man’s AnyOtherEuropeanCity. Here is a collection of recollections on The Kino, from those who knew it best and loved it most.
“It’s devastating to be leaving so much sooner than we had hoped but unfortunately the timing never worked for us in The Kino. We were only six months into what was a five year plan when Covid came along and we were forced to close last March. We’re extremely proud of all the great gigs and events we put on during our tenure. So many brilliant acts, both Irish and international performed there in the eight months we were actually open. There was real heart and genuine effort from our staff, crew and all the artists, we want to thank all of them for that. It made the venue the special space that it was. Everyone was sound and great at their job!” – Joe Kelly, The Good Room
“In truth we had just found our groove and the venue was getting a great name nationally. We never got a chance to fully realise our vision for The Kino. Had Covid not come along we would be in a completely different situation.” – Ed O’Leary, The Good Room
“The Kino is another big loss to Cork City, as a great place where musicians, artists, DJs etc. could express themselves. I’ve worked with the promoters, The Good Room, in everywhere from The Pav and The Savoy to The Kino and more, and it’s a shame all those venues are effectively gone. The powers that be need to value music, arts and culture for more than just clout and soundbites. We need more government support, and more purpose-built venues that are not treated like pubs but instead as important cultural contributors to our society, our city and our economy” – Stevie G, RedFM
“I actually worked in The Kino as a bartender from November 2019 until the closure. The Kino was my favourite arts space in Cork and the sense of community there both as a part of the work team and from the gigs we played there was immense. The Good Room are incredible promoters and lovely people and I know and hope that they’ll come back bigger and better as soon as they can.” – Cian Mullane, God Alone
“The feelings of loss people are expressing on and off social media speaks to the accomplishment of The Good Room in less than a year. Under their management, The Kino quickly became an integral part of Cork’s arts scene, and the nightlife is less for its loss. All of us at University Express wish Joe, Ed and all the staff at The Kino the very best.” – Cathal Donovan O’Neil, Music Editor, University Express
“The Kino was by far our favourite venue. It was so atmospheric and welcoming. The staff were so friendly and helpful to us. We have such fond memories of The Kino. Its closure has left a hole in the hearts of so many Cork artists” – Fyunkyay
“I will remember shimmering velvet and the taste of my first Cosmopolitan. I will remember the music and the films and the friends who I have seen bloom on its stage.” – Julie Landers, Patty & Selma
“The Kino was a venue that housed such a diverse range of bands. The Good Room always made a conscious effort to book bands from around the country that were more alternative, and based on the size of the audience, you can see how important that was for the gig-goers in Cork. The Kino both created the environment for bands to perform unreservedly and captured the sound explicitly. It’s definitely a venue that helped us and so many others. It will be sorely missed.” – Pretty Happy
Cork has always been the proud home of some of Ireland’s greatest music venues. Hearts broke at the closures of Sir Henry’s, The Arc, The Savoy, and now The Kino. Here’s the thing, though: Cork’s artists and art-lovers are nothing if not resilient. We’re the hermit crabs of the country, and this time next year, we’ll be breaking in whatever shell The Good Room have settled into, hotels and rip-off student accommodation be damned.