Beatlemania set to hit Newcastle West with first ever ‘Beatlesfest’

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

IT MIGHT not have an Abbey Road or a Penny Lane, and there isn’t a Maharishi for miles. But for the reams of Beatles fans who will be descending on Newcastle West this weekend, it won’t matter a bit.

IT MIGHT not have an Abbey Road or a Penny Lane, and there isn’t a Maharishi for miles. But for the reams of Beatles fans who will be descending on Newcastle West this weekend, it won’t matter a bit.

This Saturday and Sunday Cleary’s Bar on South Quay will be transformed into a shrine to John, Paul, Ringo and George for the first ever ‘Beatlesfest’.

From a Beatles tribute act to Beatles-themed cocktails, band memorabilia and more retro fashion than you can shake a pair of go-go boots at, the organisers believe that Beatlesfest will capture a little piece of the 1960s.

To top it all off the pub’s music-obsessed owner, Seamus Cleary, is converting his 1992 white Toyota Starlet, known as ‘White Lightning’, into a life-size yellow submarine, complete with periscopes, portholes and pictures of the Fab Four.

“This is going to be a right bit of craic,” Seamus told the Limerick Leader. “Everyone loves the Beatles. Even people who haven’t a clue about the band know the words to their songs.

“We’re doing up my car as a yellow submarine. We’ve a one-and-a-half foot periscope, pictures of the four lads and a big sign saying ‘all you need is love’. We’re going to park it right outside so when anyone drives past, before they even know what’s going on, they’ll smile.”

The highlight of the event will be performances at 10pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday by Beatles tribute act ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Only Dart Board Band’, who are travelling over from England for the weekend.

Cleary’s Bar, which is already a shrine to Irish and international rock legends, will house a collection of Beatles memorabilia throughout the weekend, while revellers will be able to toast the band with two special cocktails – the ‘Strawberry Fields’ and the ‘Eleanor Rigby’.

This week, local art student Patrick O’Mahoney was putting the finishing touches to the frame of the yellow submarine at his home in Newcastle West, with the help of his father, Pat senior, who is also one of the event organisers.

Mary Mackey, one of the Beatlesfest organisers, said that the event will be following in the footsteps of other music events staged at Cleary’s over the years, including the recent ‘Goat Street Blues Festival’, dubbed after South Quay’s old street name.

“We’re really looking forward to it. Music has always been Seamus’ thing.

“We have blues nights, Irish nights; this year we thought we’d have a Beatles night. Everyone loves the Beatles.

“We want people to dress to impress. It’s like a pre-Halloween party. We want everyone to come down in their 60s and 70s clothes. It’s a bit of fun”.