Interested in exploring Dublin’s music scene during your stay? Byrne, one of our Student Ambassadors, offers his thoughts on where to go to get your fill of live music this summer.
“In my experience, live music is truly a cornerstone of Irish culture. Musicians, back in the time of Brehon Law, were held in the third highest regard in Irish society, next only to the Poets and the King (Rí). During the Protestant Ascendancy, Irish music was taken from the courts, and into the home. This resulted in the music mentality that has permeated Irish culture to this day. It has manifested in the form of Trad (traditional) sessions – gathering, sharing, and appreciation of live music – a long time custom in the typical country Irish home for the past centuries. Nowadays, live music is still just as prolific about the city, with venues ranging from huge stadiums, to small traditional pubs.
The Big Ones:
1. Three Arena
The Three Arena is the go to large venue for touring artists. Dublin is typically a must stop location for all the biggest touring acts. We recommend checking ticketmaster.ie to see if your favourite superstar is making a pit stop in Dublin – they probably are!
The Three Arena is super accessible – at the end of the Red Luas Line in the docks, east of the city. It can be absolutely packed, as the amphitheatre holds up to 15’000 people.
2. Croke Park
Croke Park is the giant. It is usually a year round GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association) stadium, hosting the Hurling and Gaelic Football inter-county competitions. But from time to time, the 82’300 capacity stadium is transformed into a mega amphitheatre. Music giants like U2, Take That, and Red Hot Chili Peppers have filled out the stadium, inducing an electric atmosphere. Again, look out for touring artists on ticketmaster.ie.
3. The Academy
The Academy is the smaller sister of the Three Arena. It sees smaller touring acts, including many DJs and general Dance Acts and club nights. It is located on Abbey Street, just before Jervis Shopping Centre.
4. Vicar Street
Vicar Street is a multi-functioning venue, hosting a plethora of comedy, dance and music acts. It is a very personal-feeling venue, with good audience-performer engagement. Vicar Street can be found just past Christchurch, on Thomas Street.
5. Olympia Theatre
The Olympia is a charming old theatre, built in 1879. It is full of character, able to maintain an intimate atmosphere, whilst also able to hold a large enough audience. Medium size touring Artists often do gigs in the Olympia. It is located on Dame Street – straight out of the Front Gate exit from Trinity.
Whelan’s is the quintessential “gig” location. There is live music here almost every night. The performers range greatly between international touring acts, Irish popular and alternative acts, and Irish traditional acts. Whelan’s has a lively ambiance, offering a unique live music experience. Artists as big as Ed Sheeran have played this small, iconic venue (with exceedingly high demand) just in order to experience the atmosphere themselves.
7. Foggy Dew
Foggy Dew is a more traditional Irish Pub and Music venue. Here, you will find Irish Pub culture, inextricably linked with the Irish Music tradition. A blend of Irish Trad and Alternative is played in session style every evening. The venue is open and spacious – good for sociable gatherings, with friendly bar staff, accompanied with live music.
8. The Workman’s Club
The Workman’s Club is, first and foremost, a bustling club night that Trinity students flock to on Wednesdays. Every other night of the week, the Workman’s serves as an intimate gig setting for up and coming alternative and rock acts. If you are particularly interested in obscure or new bands, keep an eye on who is playing the Workman’s circuit. There is a chance that you are witnessing the next big act to emerge from Ireland!
9. District 9
District 9 has a warehouse feeling, tucked away in a suburban/residential part of Christchurch. It is often home to alternative and electronic gigs, with Trinity’s own Ents Officer using it as a venue for Trinity nights out. These are typical “club and DJ” nights, great for dancing! To give a flavour, Bakermat played this venue in the college’s official end of year party.
10. Twisted Pepper
The Twisted Pepper is your go-to dance venue. It sees an array of EDM, drum-and-bass and alternative dance acts every weekend. It is a sure-fire locations for some heavy bass and dance beats. It has typical stage area upstairs that has hosted the likes of Flume and What So Not. In addition, it has a low-ceilinged basement where you can dance until the early hours. The Twisted Pepper is an experience worth trying – particularly for those with light feet.
Dublin offers a huge variation in mood and ambiance for live music. The city is very proud of its live music culture, and we encourage everyone to experience it for themselves!”