So where did The Battle of the Axe begin? Its roots are firmly in the Notting Hill Gate, area of London. Specifically in The Hoop Bar.

It was here in the early 1980s that Producer/Director Tony Ferns organised open mic shows for musicians. The shows ran for over ten years.

When Tony came back to Ireland in 1996, he established the Battle of the Axe. At the beginning, it was mainly for actors, trying out monologues.

But as fate would have it a new star was about to be born – The Lucky Duck – who every Tuesday night became a prized win for the luckiest comedian. With The Lucky Duck Award and Certificate up for grabs, it didn’t take long for comedians and singer/songwriters to fall in love with the open mic theme.

To win a coveted Lucky Duck, the audience voted for the number one act on the Tuesday night. Whichever act got the loudest cheer, wins the Lucky Duck!

And that was how – the Battle of the Axe was born, and lives on to this day. Previous winners of The Lucky Duck Award include Neil Delamere, David McSavage, Damien Clarke, and Paddy Casey – just to mention a few.

The open mic acts have gone on to perform at the highest levels of entertainment – at Vicar Street, The O2, Conan O’Brien, The Comedy Channel, BBC, RTE, Channel 4, The Electric Picnic, The Montreal Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, New York, Sydney, London and even The Grand Ole Opery – Nashville, USA.


Mags McHugh – The Lucky Duck and Tommy Lee.


Adding to its wide-ranging portfolio, the Battle of the Axe has performed and presented shows at the following established venues: Players Theatre Trinity College, Dublin. The Crypt – Dublin Castle, The Irish Film Institute, Dublin City University. Also at the following Festivals – Cashel Arts, Durrow Arts, Liberties. Liberty Belle, the Bayno Bar, Rosey O’Gradys, KRC Kimmage, Fringe Kilkenny, Key Largos, Shipwright Bar.

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