In November of 2019 SJ McArdle premiered a show called Port in association with Droichead Arts Centre, with sponsorship and support from Drogheda Port Company.
Port comprised a newly written song-cycle which was born of year-long research and writing project undertaken as Artist in Association at Droichead Arts Centre funded by the Arts Council and Create Louth. Stephen had full access to the ports historical archive, which goes back to 1790, to research the material for the show and album.
The Port has been the epicentre of life in Drogheda for a thousand years and more, providing culture and communication and food and employment. It is tied to everything in the town and has played a role in every part of its history. But a port, by its nature, is also a link to other places, and the research for this project provided subject matter from Europe and the US to the North Atlantic and the South Pacific. The land-based stories of the Port are just as rich, almost a converse of the stories of life at sea. Following his research and study of the port, this allowed him to start bringing the stories of Drogheda Port out into the world in song form, exposing and sharing the living history of the area. This is a unique project encompassing music, performance and history.
The PORT project took to the stage in the Sugar Club in Dublin in 2022 and plans to now embark on a touring show are well in train. An album has also been produced by SJ titled Old Ghosts on the Water with commissioned artwork.