Mountcharles anticipates ‘emotional’ Slane concert after cancer diagnosis

‘There was a time last year when I wasn’t sure the Foo Fighters concert would happen’

Ronan McGreevy

Slane Castle owner Henry Mountcharles never expected to see another concert at the venue following his diagnosis with lung cancer last year.

Lord Mountcharles had a cancerous lobe removed from his right lung in March last year. The growth was found by accident during a biopsy which followed a painful attack of kidney stones in Miami two months previously. “I bless that kidney stone,” he says.

“I have no illusions about how serious the condition was or potentially is. I will require constant monitoring for the rest of my life. On the positive side, it makes you glad to be alive on God’s Earth.”


Some 90 per cent of lung cancers are caused by smoking, but Mountcharles, who will be 64 on Saturday, said he has not smoked for 40 years.

“I was advised by one radiologist that, though I gave up 40 years ago, it could still have been the cause of my lung cancer,” he said. “If I see any of grandchildren smoking, I will be down on them like a ton of bricks. Smoking is not a good idea. I regret ever having put one cigarette in my mouth.”

Speaking at a press conference before Saturday week’s Foo Fighters concert at Slane Castle, Mountcharles said the concert will be an emotional occasion for him.

“I’m more than happy to be here today. There was a time last year when I wasn’t sure this was going to happen,” he said.

“When I was really ill, I wanted there to be a show this year even in extremis, even if I did not live to see it.”

Mountcharles has been given the all-clear, but there have still been moments of doubt. He feared the return of the cancer recently but it turned out to be a chest infection.

“To describe what this did to my wife and my head is hard to describe, I’ve never been so delighted to be told that I had a chest infection,” he said.

The Foo Fighters will be touring their album and the documentary around their latest release Sonic Highways. This year's concert on Saturday, May 30th, will include strong support with Kaiser Chiefs, Hozier, Ash and The Strypes.

MCD events controller Eamonn Fox said the Foo Fighters had included a demand on their rider that nobody be allowed to bring garden gnomes into the Slane arena.

They also drew diagrams of food acceptable to them and food that is not. He suggested that this was not diva-like rock behaviour on behalf of the Foo Fighters, but a humorous way of ensuring that promoters read through their list of demands.

Famously the American band Van Halen once included a ban on brown M&Ms in their rider not because they had an aversion to them, but because they wanted to ensure that their demands were taken seriously.

Nevertheless, neither plastic bottles or garden gnomes will be allowed into the arena at the band’s request.

“The garden gnomes have worked from our point of view because we’ve put them on the FAQs,” Mr Fox said.

Supt Michael Devine said concertgoers will find it much easier to access and leave Slane because of a new car park on the N52 nearby.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times