EP: 10 Sam McNicholl on Running Connolly’s of Leap, and Being a Professional Musician

This week I sat down with Sam McNicoll who runs the famous public house and music venue Connolly’s of Leap, plays with the band Talos, and arguably has the best moustache in Ireland. We dug deep into the history of Connolly's of Leap and what it was like for Sam growing up in a venue that attracted artists such as the The Frames, The Pale, Garth Hudson from The Band, Donal Lunny, and John Martyn, and how the Pink Floyd hammer flag came to be a part of the infamous set up at Connolly’s. We also discussed Talos and their success, the excitement that comes with doing something that you absolutely love to do, and juggling the two big commitments of being a professional musician and business owner.

Show Notes:

Interview questions/ conversational topics and times:

  • (0:05.25) Connollys of Leap, been in the family since the 1950’s (3 generations)

  • (0:06.20) What was the place known as back then?

  • (0:06.50) What has changed since your grandparents owned it?

  • (0:09.20) How Leap got its name (anecdote)

  • (0:12.35) Music movement in Belfast at the time.

  • (0:17.50) What happened when your dad moved down to West Cork?

  • (0:19.25) Reputation of Connollys of Leap (anecdote)

  • (0:20.36) What bands/artists played there throughout the years?

  • (0:21.44) Father had his own music label (Rescue Records)

  • (0:21.47) Would you have met a lot of the artists growing up?

  • (0:23.20) What brought you back to Connollys?

  • (0:24.30) Was Connollys, as a music venue, closed for a while?

  • (0:24.49) What has the experience of running it been like thus far?

  • (0:25.05) Martin Stephenson and the Daintees:

  • (0:26.40) Conversation about the Rebel Wheelers sessions at Aclaí on Wednesday evenings.

  • (0:27.57) Does being so busy all the time as a business owner giver moments of reflection more meaning?

  • (0:28.12) Is it hard work/ in what way ?

  • (0:29.25) Who's on the Connollys dream team at the minute?

  • (0:30.15) Flag anecdote:

  • Cliff Rescue and the helicopters

  • Glen Hansard and the Frames

  • (0:35.50) Ainle’s Glen Hansard story.

  • (0:38.40) How do you juggle Connollys with busy music life?

  • (0:39.50) What's been the story of Talos so far?

  • (0:42.45) Talos at electric picnic: Youtube

  • (0:44.05) What do you think of the music scene in Cork/Ireland?

  • (0:46.00) Comment on Ireland being a global giant in art and music output.

  • (0:46.24) Who are you listening to at the minute? (Bands)

    • Bell X1

    • Moxie

    • Brian Finnegan

    • I am the Cosmos

  • (0:48.34) Do you ever second guess yourself about your way of running things?

  • (0:49.20) Long-Table Lunch: Saturday Jan 27, 1pm @ Aclaí, Crawford Business Park.

  • (0:50.00) Balancing the highs and lows in the business.

  • (0:53.05) Conversation about jobs with total commitment to improvement.

  • (0:54.47) Quickfire round:

    • What advice would you give to the 10 years younger version of yourself?

    • Who's your inspiration?

    • Who would you like to collaborate with?

    • What's your favourite book?

  • (1:00.00) What's coming up for Connollys and Talos in the coming weeks/months?

Also mentioned on the podcast:

Video: ‘My Ireland’ by Stephen Jones Smith

  • Short version (live on Imelda May’s show): here

  • Long version: here

  • Glen Hansard seeing tape of Sam’s father: here

Talos Social Media:




Apple Music

Closing song: Talos: In Time

Music on this podcast is by the band Kíla. You can check out the latest news from the Kíla crew on their Facebook page, and keep up to date with their latest tour dates on the official Kíla website. Check out both links below.