Crane Lane Theatre – Stage Door
Image by infomatique
They claim to be Cork’s most versatile venue, a house of Jazz, Blues and Burlesque. They have hosted many an international luminary and some of the South’s best bands have trod it’s boards. They don’t just mean the South of Ireland either. They have a tradition of hosting some of the finest Bluegrass, Western Swing, Blues and Rock & Roll bands to visit these shores. On weekends, in full gear they have Live Gigs, Shows and our Resident DJs to keep you on your toes!
The Crane Lane Theatre is located in the remains of an old Gentleman’s Club in the dead center of Cork City, and has been the scene of many a notorious event over the last 100 years. We have the only Beer Garden in Corks City centre and we continue to be inspired by the music of Mr. Tom Waits
The decor is from the 20’s 30’s & 40’s – (with the exception of one disco-ball).
The Crane Lane Theatre is located in the remnants of The Cork & County Club, a gentleman’s club founded in 1837. The Club was founded as a non-denominational club, a direct response to the policy of exclusion of Catholics from the nearby Cork City Club. A policy of including Catholics and Protestants was quite radical for its time, and reflected the then current drive for Catholic Emancipation led by Daniel O’ Connell. It also appealed to the growing Catholic merchant classes, which included the Murphy’s Brewing family and Hewitts Distillers. However, the membership was still largely made up of the prevailing Protestant merchants and bankers, and included Lord Bandon, Sir Nicholas Colthurst of Blarney Castle and the Beamish’s of brewing fame.
The Club was originally situated on the South Mall (where the current offices of Aviva are located), and gradually extended back along the length of Crane Lane to Phoenix St. In 1952, the Cork City Club and The County Club merged to become the Cork City & County Club. In the 1980’s, the Club became near defunct and the premises sold. It became a nightclub for several years before becoming the Crane Lane Theatre in 2006.
Of the many tales told about the club, one of the more interesting, which dominated the press at the time (1894), involved two trustees and committee members of the club, Richard Piggot Beamish (managing partner of the local Beamish brewery), and Jospeh Pike, of the banking family of Besborough House in Douglas. A libel case, heard in the Four Courts in Dublin, centered on allegations of cheating brought by Beamish against Pike. Though Beamish technically won the case, the Judge in the case cleared Pike of cheating. Pike’s grateful mother gave the Judge a magnificent house, Bloomfield House, in Douglas, which raised many any eyebrow at the time.
The Club again became the focus of attention in July 1920. This was a tempestuous time in Ireland, even more so in Cork. It was the height of the War of Independence, and Cork was living up to its name of "Rebel County". RIC Police Commissioner for Munster, Lt. Col. Gerard Bryce Ferguson Smyth, had recently been appointed by Winston Churchill as part of his hardening attitude towards Irish nationalists. This culminated in the deployment of the notorious "Black & Tans" to Ireland, which resulted in the burning of Cork City in December of 1920. In July of that year, Smyth was having a drink in the County Club, when a dozen volunteers of the Cork No 1 Brigade stormed into the club, and shot Smyth dead.