Dance, Theater, and Music

Olympia Theatre

“Amazing ambience. Mike Mills of R.E.M. loves this venue.”—Nicola Reddy, deputy editor, Dubliner magazine. Elaborate 19th-century theater that hosts performances by rock and classical bands. Tickets vary. 72 Dame Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 679 3323.

The O2

Former train depot is one of Ireland’s biggest concert venues (seats 8,500). Formerly The Point. U2 and R.E.M. both recorded live albums here. North Wall Quay, Dublin 1; tel. 353 0 1 676 6144.


Dublin’s newest live music hot spot; multifunctional, renovated industrial space features three performance venues, reserved balcony seating, a club space, and a bar; hosts Irish and international bands. Tickets from $10. Old Harcourt Street Station, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 476 3374.


The Market Bar

Airy, modern pub in a converted church, with vaulted ceilings, impressive design; no-music policy means conversation is actually possible. 16a Fade Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 613 9094.

The Octagon Bar

Trendy cocktail bar in the Clarence Hotel. Candles, fireplace, leather banquettes, and a titular octagonal bar; frequented by models and celebrities, including the U2 bandmates who own the place. The Clarence Hotel, 6–8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 407 0800.

The Long Hall

Big, popular traditional pub with ornate Victorian decor; filigree-edge mirrors, chandeliers, tiny hidden tables; friendly atmosphere. 51 South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 475 1590.

The Cobblestone

“It’s the quality of the musicians that makes the difference; musicians are given the freedom to play what they want. It’s very informal.”—Toner Quinn, editor, Journal of Irish Music. Classic Irish pub; live traditional music every night. 77 North King Street, Dublin 7; tel. 353 0 1 872 1799.

JJ Smyth’s

Family-owned pub in the house where the poet Thomas Moore was born; famous for jazz and blues sessions six nights a week; features local and international acts including the Ben Prevo Band, the Brian Meakin Band, Rag Mama Rag, and the Phil Ware Trio. 12 Aungier Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 475 2565.


“Dark, wooden interior; balcony overlooking the stage; very atmospheric.”—Nicola Reddy, deputy editor, Dubliner magazine. Raucous pub and music venue, hosts both local and international acts. Check local listings, or take potluck. Tickets from $10. 25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2; tel. 353 0 1 478 0766.


St. Patrick’s Festival

On and around March 17. Massive multiple-day event celebrating Ireland’s patron saint; street theater, music, fireworks, and parties as well as a grand parade, with Irish and international marching bands, drill teams, floats.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Late February/early March. More than a hundred films are screened over two weekends. Showcases Irish and world cinema; seminars and lectures on filmmaking. Meet Irish directors like Joel Conroy (Wave Riders, 2008) and international filmmakers such as Jonas Mekas (Guns of the Trees, 1964).

Diversions Festival

June to August. Free performances held in streets and squares: dance, film, theater, music, opera, and visual arts; features more than 100 performers from a dozen countries; past programs have included recitals by Clive Carroll and Gareth Peterson, and “In the Open,” a mix of poetry, prose, and drama in Temple Bar Square.

Bloomsday Festival

June 16. A full day devoted to celebrating Leopold Bloom, the main character of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Restaurants, pubs, museums, and cinemas all get in on the act.


Early/mid July. One of Europe’s premier summer indie rock music fests, with acts playing on multiple stages throughout a weekend. Line-up has included Kings of Leon, Editors, Scissor Sisters, and Razorlight. Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare.

Dublin Theatre Festival

Two weeks in late September/early October. Theaters throughout Dublin feature new plays by major Irish companies, such as Druid; international theaters and dance companies; and touring companies from London’s West End theaters.

Tradition: DL

August. Colossal festival of traditional Irish music; held harborside in suburban Dún Laoghaire; a must-visit festival for lovers of Ireland’s traditional sound. Pavilion Theatre, Marine Road.


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