Black and white poster with the words "Shellshock Rock", the S of Shell and Shock stylised like lightening bolts. Behind the text is a collage of grainy images of youths playing guitar.

Shellshock Rock

Shellshock Rock (1979) is a documentary by John T. Davis exploring Northern Ireland’s 1970s punk scene. The documentary begins with teenagers explaining how punk’s non-conformist attitude offers, in the context of the Troubles, an anti-sectarian identity for those without a mainstream political agenda. Inviting punks and the public to speak openly to the camera, Shellshock Rock shows Northern Irish punks turning their anti-authoritarian, devil-may-care attitudes towards making musical spaces, such as Terri Hooley’s Good Vibrations record store, free of sectarianism. 

Director John T. Davis features a host of bands including The Undertones, Protex, Rudi, and The Outcasts, revealing a youth revelling in music rather than engaging with The Troubles. Open and honest, Shellshock Rock is Davis’ first feature in a magnificent career, and establishes his trademark detached, observational style in revealing the decency underlying these punks’ shock tactics. Please join us for a free screening of Shellshock Rock on Wednesday 23 March, 7-9pm. No booking required.

About Engine of Hell:

Shellshock Rock is part of a series of events and interventions at Ormston House for the project Engine of Hell. Throughout March 2022, Ormston House will be a site for rehearsal and performance. Consisting of commissioned and invited works, Engine of Hell will draw on the cultural and societal impact of music. Together, artists and contributors will explore ideas of collective action, censorship, and protest. Engine of Hell takes influence from the 1934 anti-jazz campaign in Ireland. Fr Peter Conefrey, who led the campaign, believed jazz to be an “engine of hell” imported from abroad to do the devil’s work. ‘Jazz’, in this case, referred to any music or dance that was modern, foreign and ‘other’.


Wednesday 23 March 2022, 7-9pm. Shellshock Rock is part of Engine of Hell curated by Caimin Walsh, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.
Admission is free. If you are in a position to support, please consider a donation to the Ukraine Appeal organised by Doras here or the Ukraine Solidarity Fund organised by Trans Europe Halles here.
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