The Dolans are a family that have long since dedicated themselves to putting on exceptional live events and due to current restrictions have taken the creative approach of adopting Limerick’s Milk Market as their regular live venue for the time being, hosting a series of shows (supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media).

Their latest presentation is a farewell celebration to one of Limerick’s most energetic advocates of up and coming Irish acts – Marty Ryan, with a tour-de-force Anna’s Anchor performance seeing him off to Ohio where he is set to pursue a PhD. in Music Education at Kent State University.

The night’s entertainment is set in motion with a short solo set from Windings frontman Steve Ryan with a track from each of their four studio albums along with a sneak peek from the upcoming new album from the band. Ryan is as warmly entertaining as ever with his witty and self deprecating banter, whilst the songs even in their stripped down form hit home, particularly Cathedral & Old Like J, while the new tune definitely has us intrigued for the as yet untitled new album.

Then it’s time for our main act, who jauntily take to the stage, their entance not looking one bit rehearsed, as was jokingly suggested by Steve Ryan before he departed. As people familiar with Anna’s Anchor will know it’s largely a one-man, Marty Ryan shaped affair, however, for tonight’s show he has put together what could easily be dubbed a Limerick supergroup with a collection of seasoned players from around the city – Brendan McInerney, Clare O’Brien, Mike Hennessy and Niall O’Sullivan.

They immediately rip into the first three tracks from ‘A Glorious Ruction‘, the latest Anna’s Anchor release and by the time they get to Sarsfield Bridge all semblance of initial nervousness are gone and it’s clear that Ryan and his ensemble are enjoying the sense of occasion and the audience are with them all the way.

Given the nature of the gig there are times when the emotions are palpable particularly during White Washed Corridor one of the highlights of the night, later there is a heart-felt dedication to the sadly departed Lesly Anne Liddane who Ryan thanks for her unending encouragement of him and his dreams.

The show is brought to an initial conclusion with a wonderfully energetic rendition of Summer Camp before Ryan returns on his own to perform stirring renditions of The National’s Mistaken for Strangers and Johnny Cash is a Punk. The rest of the players join him for a rip-roaring finale of You Are a Lighthouse, before departing to one of several standing ovations on the night.

A fitting send-off to one of the truly passionate champions of the Limerick music scene. Safe travels Marty !