As any decent bachelor party in Europe will tell you, Dublin is a lively old town, equipped to deal with any form of shenanigans. If you want a relaxing pint with a bit of traditional ceol (the Irish word for ‘music’) fiddling away in the background, you’ll have no trouble finding that. If you’re after a more lively experience with some jumping jigs, flying reels and an all out ceili (a traditional dance), you can track that down too. Or if you’re just looking for some modern tunes by the best up-and-coming musicians, Dublin can deliver that as well.
The Irish are born with music in their veins, so it’s not tough to wander into a full throttle session wherever you head out in Dublin’s fair city. However, there are a few venues that excel in live music, and it’d be remiss not to catch a gig or two while you’re tearing around on your bucket dream trip of Ireland. Why not log onto BUCKiTDREAM and see if you can’t get inspired by other travelers who’ve tackled the Emerald Isle, then keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we take you through the best live music venues you can find in the Irish capital.
The Workman’s Club Run by folks who are as passionate about music as their ravenous clientele, the Workman’s Club is the venue known for catching the best soon-to-be-famous artists, as well as being the venue you can count on to be open at almost any stage of the night, due to its late license. It has a performing area downstairs and a bar and the smoking area upstairs. As well as catching the best new bands on the scene, there’s always a chance you could run into a young superstar in the making as they’re grabbing a pint; the Workman’s is a renowned hip venue for Dublin’s creative youth.
Whelan’s Whelan’s is practically a Dublin institution. Located on the ever-bustling Wexford Street, it’s both a famous venue and a famous pub. A night out in Whelan’s will often start with a cozy, quiet pint in the lounge area, then an amble upstairs to one of the main stages. Founded as a pub in and around the 1770s, and transformed into a venue in 1989, Whelan’s has seen many a famous face come through its inauspicious doors. For a small, intimate venue, the roster of musicians who’ve played here is pretty staggering; Jeff Buckley, Hozier, Nick Cave, Arctic Monkeys and James Blake are just a few of the entries in the impressive line-up of artists that have graced Wheelman’s stage. It’s simply a must-visit for any music aficionados visiting Dublin.
The Olympia The most striking venue on the list, Dublin’s Olympia is awash with old-world grandeur. Situated smack-bang in the middle of the city on Dame Street, this historic venue has played host to some of the biggest bands on the planet, as well as a number of wildly successful theater shows. It has a distinct atmosphere (thanks to its ornate ornamentation and a fetching dark red color scheme) unlike a lot of the more modern music venues but remains decked out with most contemporary stage and sound innovations. It’s large enough to attract major acts but just cozy enough to ensure an intimate experience; in other words, the perfect size! If you can manage to bag a private box on either the left or right-hand side of the theater, you’re in for a treat.
Tengu Yamamori Inspired by the Japanese folk legend of the same name and part of the wildly successful Yamamori chain which has taken Dublin by storm in the past few years, Tengu is the place to go for the latest in dance and techno. It also hosts an impressive selection of Japanese whiskeys and beer, with some awesome Asian-inspired cocktails to boot. Tengu really comes into its own with its club nights, though; it welcomes some of the finest DJs to its intimate, achingly cool selection of stages. If you couldn’t care less about live music and just want to hear some pulse-pounding beats surrounded by a Japanese theme, Tengu is the only Dublin club you need to hit up.
Vicar Street The largest venue on the list by a couple of hundred tickets, Vicar Street is one of Dublin’s premier lives music showcases. A variety of acts takes the stage here, with the venue being noted for its crystal clear sound and dynamic acoustics. It’s equally noted for stand-up comedy, with homegrown hero Tommy Tiernan once playing 166 sequential performances here, and the venue even hosted the legendary Bob Dylan in 2000. Located on, predictably enough, Vicar Street, the venue is a short walk from Dublin city center.
You might have your nights sorted with this bumper bucket list of venues, but what about your days in Dublin? Well, fear not, there’s plenty to do in the daylight too! Check out The Five Best Traditional Irish Pubs in Dublin or Doublin’ Down on Fun in Dublin for some more awesome ideas of how to make your non-traveling friends green with envy!