Metallica’s Liscannor visit recalled in Tiny Little Histories

In June 2019, Metallica’s visit to Liscannor was an unexpected novelty, coming the day after the American heavy metal band played Slane.

Their visit was remembered in an exhibition called Tiny Little Histories which was recently at the Limerick City Gallery of Art.

Metallica’s visit was told through an audio story by artist John Lillis titled “Black Helicopter.”

Speaking of which, John says: “There was a call from the GAFF in Limerick regarding audio narration. I have an interest in storytelling in general and knew that was something I would be interested in applying for.

“It was pretty short, you only had seven minutes, and they wanted something that was kind of a contemporary story, it had to have happened in the last 100 years. I just sat with him for A few days.

By chance, he came across his subject.

“I live in Clahane just next to Liscannor and heard the story by chance when I was still looking for something. I wouldn’t call myself a Metallica fan, but I found it fascinating when I read it. heard in the village.

“I think what I found really fascinating was how the two leads, Robbie (Ball) and Tim (Quaid), told the story.

“In Ireland we have these little stories that emerge in communities, but the telling of the stories is actually masterful. The way they told me the story one night, I said ‘this is it’. C That’s really how it happened.”

The audio story was accompanied by relevant images.

“There would be a collection of photos that I took locally, photos that they themselves put together from the experience, not just at the gig but when they came to Liscannor afterwards. there was a hired professional photographer who took a unique photo from which each story emerged, he did a really interesting job in terms of what he chose for each location.

John had only recently moved to the area when he heard the story during a chance conversation, and he decided to make it his subject.

“A random pianist and singer from Cork arrived at Egan’s of Liscannor and gave an impromptu gig. I said it was amazing, that these guys showed up like that. I think it was Tim who then said it was like the time Metallica landed in a helicopter at the back of the pub. I was like ‘What?

John says that for both fans, going to the Metallica show was less of an outing than a pilgrimage, and Black Helicopter is more about them than the world-famous band.

“The story is less about Metallica, it’s more about the two guys and their enthusiasm for the situation. When you get a little older you indulge yourself, you say I’m going to go away for this concert, it’s something something I’ve always wanted to attend, but the last thing you expect is for the band to follow you home afterwards.”

When the two locals received calls that Metallica had come to Liscannor, they initially thought it was over, but realized the rock stars had arrived.

“They met them at Vaughan’s restaurant, said hello to them for a few minutes, welcomed them to Liscannor and told them they’d been to the gig the night before. ”

John thought it was a very enjoyable story to tell.

“It was quite a strange story to tell for me, it’s a little different from most of my other work, but I thought it was a really heartwarming story, sometimes we need heartwarming stories.”

The project also included a work by Sean Horgan, titled Intergenerational Exchange. It featured a gathering of several generations of the McCarthy family from Ennis to celebrate their inherited love of history and song by honoring family patriarch John McCarthy.

Clare’s two stories and others included in the exhibit are intended to be stored online as long-term accessible arts and community resources.



Owen Ryan


Owen Ryan has been a reporter for the Clare Champion since 2007, having worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.


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