AL KEEGAN – A DUBLIN DJ PROMOTER PIONEER – A TRIBUTEJuly 31, 2020
Its been a few months since the tragic passing of one of Dublin’s finest dance music pioneers and innovators, Al Keegan. Sadly, it has left a void in the capitals creative matrix. Al, was a very much loved and respected playmaker, who always curated the right synergy between people, sounds and spaces to host and evolve some of the very best parties the city has ever witnessed!
We felt that the timing was right and reached out to his wife and family, friends and colleagues to ask them what impact he has made in their lives and to share any thoughts & memories in their own words.
Thank you everyone who sent in their pictures. (The pictures used are not in chronological order)
Mike Mannix: Thank you, Martina, for sharing your heartfelt emotions and memories about Al.
Martina: Myself and Al met when he was running 12ten in the Legal Eagle.
I used to go to Spirit on Abbey Street every Saturday night and a few friends convinced me to go to 12ten as they said it was good craic. I absolutely loved it in there, loads of sound people having the best time. Live saxophone/ bongo players, live visuals which I’d never seen. Just a great vibe. Al went to live in Ibiza in summer 2004 for three months.
I had gone over for a week’s holiday with friends and ended up hooking up with Al, a little holiday romance. But he ended up coming home early and moved in with me immediately. It was definitely quick but we both knew straight away that we were in love
He was such a different kind of guy, not afraid to be truly himself. Didn’t care about trends, he liked what he liked
Al played electric picnic that year with the 12ten lads, they actually played the first-ever set at the first Electric Picnic! After that, the club night went from strength to strength and they started booking international guests. Al loved DJ-ing and played for the crowd, always mindful of the time of night and who was on next etc.
After 12ten wrapped up he started Acii Disco and they were absolutely mad nights. Queues down the road to get in
I met many of my best friends in those days, we were together every weekend, and the community vibe was amazing. There was so much going on. Al absolutely loved the buzz in Dublin City, it gave him great pleasure to be putting on gigs that people loved. We were at most of the festivals during the summertime’s back then, Al would be playing at some of them.
We got married in 2012 and had a three-day wedding in Wicklow which was great fun. We had a few friends play for us Saturday night and then on the Sunday we flew Crazy P over to play. The neighbours called the guards that night! We didn’t care, we loved every second of it.
We had our daughter Evie in 2014, Al absolutely adored her and loved being a dad
He had taken a step back from clubs at that stage and was working as an event manager but still kept in touch with the scene, playing here and there.
We had our son Séimí in 2018, and Al had started to DJ again in 2019, he had missed it
He was managing Secret Society gigs and then started DJ-ing there too. Before he died he had heard he would be resident at a weekly club night in Dublin City centre and he was so excited about that.
We are all so sad that he won’t get to achieve everything he wanted to, he had so much more to give to Dublin. I am devastated to lose him at such a young age and feel so sad that the kids won’t know their amazing, funny, talented, creative dad.
I am incredibly lucky that I got to spend 16 years with him, and have the most amazing memories
Shar [Als Sister]
MM: Thank you Shar for sharing your thoughts and memories about AL…
Shar: I’ve been reading back on some of my brother’s many emails, and community posts, he was so ahead of his time, a modern-day influential genius.
He created something so special that his legacy lives on throughout Dublin in the friendships he created and the love & families spawned from them.
Taken from Alans Eulogy – written by Sharon Keegan
’Alan was the pied piper of Dance Music, people followed wherever he would go. We have many colourful memories, our hedonistic Sundays of fun with our friends, the Bora Bora of Dublin Dance partys, Our Sunday mass, our religion, our community, you linked so many of us together.’’
I have so much love and admiration for you little brother and I will forever be thankful and grateful to you for the “good times.”The party, the smiles, the hugs, the loves, the music, the high fives, the brother who always cared… for EVERYONE x
I leave you with his words from his last email to his community about the closing of McGrudders (A successful club he’d set up)
“For the moment I’d like to say huge thanks to everyone that ever came along to the parties, to all the DJs and VJs to all the helpers and friends, I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest of jobs dealing with me on some of them mornings, to the door staff over the years, Lynn that looked after the door and to the staff at the venue plus to all of the press, media and radio that ever helped promote the event.
I have met as I’m sure we all have some amazing people over the years there and I have had some of the best days of my life at Mixed Salad. I hope when we find a new venue and begin a new chapter you will all be there to support us once again”
And so concludes, the story of the century, full of amazing feel-good happy times for so many, some might even say the end of an era…… the lights have come on, the bar is closed, no one more tune, “there is no party without people”..and certainly no party without you Alan.
Shlomp and sleep well little brother x
Love & Hugs Shar xxxxxx
Keith Rosedale [Secret Society]
Mike Mannix: Cheers Keith you were a friend and business associate with Al?
Keith: Yeah Mike, I’d known him for over 15 years, as I first met Al, at the first Electric Picnic. He was playing there, and my friends were really good friends of his. but we only got a lot closer in the last 2 years because he decided to come to work with Secret Society.
That first night he played for us he’d said it was the first time he’d got new tunes in ages as he hadn’t played in a while, and that same night I got so many messages of support about him who wanted to hear him again. He started getting more sets and we started going into the studio and making plans to stream him like 2 days a week and he also was going to be resident in the club! He had such good musical wisdom, said it how he seen it and that he wasn’t a ‘yes man’, he’d just give you his honest opinion which is what I needed at the time.
His music knowledge and style were just phenomenal and it was guaranteed that Al wouldn’t be matched by any other DJ after him
After the terrible news, I went down to see his friends and it was so strange not to be able to hug people and all, it just made things harder. But when the COVID restrictions ease there’s to be a nice send-off. And he deserves it!
MM: How would you sum up Al Keegan and his impact on the Dublin dance music scene?
KR: He was such a funny fucker, always polite, good form, everyone that worked with us loved him, it was like you see what you get you know what I mean.
He had an artistic talent to see things where people might not have seen it
First of all, in music, he would give me a listen to some tracks and I would be like “Nah” and then I would hear it in his sets and be like “Fuck!” He had that talent for picking things out that no one else heard or seen that goes back to where he picked this little pub on Thomas Street in Dublin called McGrudders and turned it in one of the best parties in Ireland.
Al Keegan was his own brand. Always good craic and treated people with absolute respect. I could go on for fucking ever. As a good cliché, he was one of the good ones you know. I was just so privileged that I got to get closer to him in the last 2 years.
Keith: RIP mate
Rob Hough [Hawk] & Anto O’Brien [12ten]
MM: Cheers Rob & Anto for sharing your memories.
RH: I first met Al Keegan clubbing at a night called “I love House” at the Tivoli Theatre. We became pals, liked each other’s vibes, and played a few times together here and there. It was 2003 when myself, Al and Anthony O’Brien came together to form 12ten, weekly club night with a house party vibe that enjoyed 2 incredible years on the scene.
It made a big impact for many people that came through the doors as it was their first introduction to clubbing and many friendships and relationships blossomed as a result including Al meeting his wife Martina
I remember Al being wise beyond his years. Besides his immense talent behind the decks, I think I was more impressed and attracted to his character, his kindness, thoughtfulness and compassion towards friends and strangers alike. There was many an occasion where we would be setting up for a gig or doing a flyer run where he would stop and talk to the homeless or somebody in need. He would really listen, give them his full attention and empathize with their situation.
This act of kindness was typical of Al and symbolic of who he was at his core. He always vibrated this loving energy in the time I knew him. His attitude was of inclusiveness and welcomed all at 12ten with open arms.
While there was a great synergy between the 3 of us it was Al who was the heart and soul that brought us all together and created the vibes. It was his energy that attracted so many beautiful souls and touched the lives of many who passed through many a club night or event he was behind.
So many fond memories with Al but if I would have to choose one that sticks out was before 12ten even began.
We did our first little rave in a ruin of a castle on a little island in Cavan
It was a real adventure because nobody really knew where we were going. A couple of friends from Cavan told us about this island that would make for a great party. A crew of around 20 of us rocked out to Cavan one mid summers Saturday afternoon where there was 1 small motorboat with a few locals waiting to take us to this magical castle.
The excitement was palpable in anticipation of what was to come. It must have taken us 3 hours to get us all safely with the gear to the island to what was probably less than 100 metres away but boy was it worth it the wait.
Al was in top form, not a worry in the world, banging out the tunes, mingling so well with everybody. We laughed a lot on that trip and it must have been late afternoon Sunday before we wrapped it up to sail home.
It was the first time myself, Anto and Al played together. There was very little planning that day, we just went with the flow and created something really special. The idea of 12ten had manifested that weekend for sure.
Looking back at the pictures of this little rave and the many magical moments captured at 12ten fills me with nostalgia especially now.
These years were incredible times and I feel very grateful to have crossed paths with Al at the beginning of such a creative and illustrious career in Dublin Clubbing.
He was back then and even more so now an inspiration to me that he followed through on his passion for music and creation. RIP
Thanks to Greg Barrah for sending in the above 12ten mix
Mike Mannix: Again thanks Jeno for your contribution to our tribute to Al.
Jeno: I’ll begin with Acii Disco, probably around 2005/2006. The only dance music club night in Dublin.
Al Keegan brought everyone together. I wouldn’t know any of my friends if it weren’t for Al, the most welcoming person I ever met.
I thought he was so cool! Always included you in on the buzz. I’ve attached two of his club night posters as well. He gave Dublin something nobody else gave at the time…..a seriously good party.
Dublin will mourn for the loss of such a great soul for a very long time.
Love you Al, your friend
Mike Mannix: Thank you Stef for these heartfelt memories
Stef: I’m lucky enough to have been friends with Al for nearly 20 years. We shared so many great memories together. One of my favourites is from a holiday in Ibiza in 2003, picture.
We talked about that holiday (Ibiza) all the time, listening to Josh Wink on the balcony in San Antonio and just had so much craic together
He introduced me to my now-husband Moe and helped organise our wedding last year. He was there helping everyone until the end.
I already miss him terrible
Arveene Juthan [Friend, Colleague]
Mike Mannix: Cheers Arveene..
Arveene: Al Keegan.. always full of love, good intentions and life for the right reasons. Did it from the heart, loved everyone equally and was always a great human…
Honestly don’t know a person who didn’t hold anything but love for this warrior… he united us trough his parties and introduced me to lots of people who are still dear to me today
My heart is broken by your passing… but your energy and light lives on inside me, your friends, Martina and your kids for ever….