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Coughlan and O'Hagan in the late 1980s
Coughlan and O'Hagan in the late 1980s
Background information
OriginCork, Ireland
Years active
  • 1980–1988
  • 2018–2019
Past membersCathal Coughlan
Sean O'Hagan
Mick Lynch
Giordaí Ua Laoghaire
Nick Montgomery
Jon Fell
Dave Galvin
Chris McCarthy
Aisling Hayden
Rob McKahey
Tom Fenner
James Compton

Microdisney were an Irish rock band formed in Cork in 1980.[2] They were founded and led by songwriters Cathal Coughlan (keyboards, vocals) and Sean O'Hagan (guitar).[3] Originally typeset as Micro Disney, the band had become Microdisney by the time they (Coughlan and O'Hagan) had relocated to London in 1983 and signed to Rough Trade Records.[4] Between 1983 and 1986 the band recorded six Peel Sessions[5] for BBC Radio and released their debut album for Rough Trade called Everybody Is Fantastic.

In 1985, their album The Clock Comes Down the Stairs reached number one in the UK Indie Chart,[6][7] and they reached the Irish top 40 with the 1987 single "Town to Town".[8] They achieved international success[9] with "Town to Town" reaching number 55 in the UK Singles Chart. This single, released by Virgin Records, was followed into the UK chart by "Gale Force Wind" in March 1988. That 1 July, days after supporting David Bowie at London's Dominion Theatre, the band split up.[10]

O'Hagan and Coughlan formed separate bands, the High Llamas and the Fatima Mansions, respectively, with Coughlan also going on to work with Sean Hughes in Bubonique[11] and Luke Haines as part of The North Sea Scrolls project.[12][13][14] In 2017, a radio documentary was made about the band called Iron Fist in Velvet Glove - The Story of Microdisney by producer Paul McDermott, which was re-broadcast by Newstalk 106-108fm as part of their Documentary on Newstalk season.[15]

In 2018, Microdisney reunited for the first time in 30 years, performing live in Dublin and London.[1] In February 2019, they played their last shows in Dublin and Cork.[16] The members of Microdisney were awarded an IMRO/NCH Trailblazer Award, given to "culturally important" Irish albums (in this instance, for The Clock Comes Down the Stairs) in 2018.[16]

A 2024 documentary, titled Microdisney: The Clock Comes Down the Stairs and focusing on the band's formation and career and reformation, was broadcast on BBC4 on 15 March 2024.[17]





Studio albums

Other albums

  • Kaught at the Kampus (1980)
  • The Peel Sessions Album (1989)
  • Big Sleeping House (1995)
  • Daunt Square to Elsewhere: 1982–1988 (2007)


  • "Hello Rascals" (1982)
  • "Pink Skinned Man" (1983)
  • "Dolly" (1984)
  • In the World EP (1985)
  • "Birthday Girl" (1985)
  • "Town to Town" (1987, UK #55)
  • "Singer's Hampstead Home" (1987)
  • "Gale Force Wind" (1988, UK #98)


  1. ^ a b Clayton-Lea, Tony (3 June 2018). "Microdisney come full circle. Welcome back, you little rascals". The Irish Times.
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 840/1. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ Ankeny, Jason (n.d.). "Microdisney". AllMusic.
  4. ^ McDermott, Paul (27 April 2021). "Iron Fist in Velvet Glove (Part 1)". Medium.com. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Perfect Sound Forever: Microdisney- their story". Furious.com. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  6. ^ "Iron Fist in Velvet Glove : radio documentary celebrates career of recently reformed Microdisney". Louderthanwar.com. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Microdisney are back and touring their best album - for one night only". Joe.ie. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Singles Charts - Placement - Search - Microdisney". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  9. ^ Power, Ed (28 June 2017). "Sean O'Hagan returns to 'cosmopolitan' Cork". The Irish Examiner.
  10. ^ "How I fell in love with Microdisney | Pádraig Collins". The Guardian. 4 February 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  11. ^ "Sean Hughes & Cathal Coughlan (Fatima Mansions), NME, May 1992". Brandnewretro.ie. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  12. ^ "The Quietus | Features | A Quietus Interview | North Sea Scrolls: Coughlan, Haines, Mueller Present New History". Thequietus.com. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  13. ^ Babey, Ged (20 January 2013). "Luke Haines, Cathal Coughlan and Andrew Mueller: The North Sea Scrolls - album review". Louderthanwar.com. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  14. ^ Clayton-Lea, Tony. "North Sea Scrolls". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Documentary On Newstalk: Iron Fist in Velvet Glove "" the story of Microdisney". Newstalk.com. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  16. ^ a b Clayton-Lea, Tony (21 March 2013). "Cathal Coughlan: 'Microdisney ran its course. Let's just leave it'". The Irish Times.
  17. ^ "BBC Four - Programmes - The Story of Microdisney: The Clock Comes Down the Stairs". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 7 March 2024.



Further reading

  • Mark. J. Prendergast (1987) Irish Rock: Roots, Personalities, Directions. O'Brien Press. ISBN 9780862781491
  • Mark McAvoy (2009) Cork Rock: From Rory Gallagher to the Sultans of Ping. Mercier Press. ISBN 9781856356558