Insider Tips

Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues

By Visit Dublin

Whatever your musical flavour, Dublin is a melting pot of sounds. With a trail of theatres peppered across the city, all playing host to a wonderfully diverse assembly of acts and artists, there truly is something for every music lover. Whether you’re a fan of pop, rock, electronica – or just love an outdoor festival – there’s a purpose-built venue at every turn. Here’s 20 of the best Dublin venues…


Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues

For the biggest names…

Dublin is home to spectacular large venues that provide a stratospheric platform for the biggest names in popular music. Favourite stops for the A-list include 3Arena and the massive open-air RDS and Aviva Stadium. The striking Bord Gáis Energy Theatre offers fantastic views of the Grand Canal district, while the opulent Olympia Theatre (left) is steeped in history and charm. The National Concert Hall hosts a diverse range of artists (often accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra), while Vicar St is an ‘Old Dublin’ institution, located in the heart of the Liberties.

For outdoor events & festivals…

Summer in Dublin needs the right soundtrack to complete the atmosphere. That’s why a fantastic array of festivals continue to welcome revellers for a host of lively celebrations. The lush grounds of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham set the scene for the annual Forbidden Fruit festival, while major outdoor happenings can also be found in Croke Park (right) – the HQ of the Gaelic Athletic Association) – and leafy Marlay Park. The gorgeous Iveagh Gardens are a real hidden gem in the centre of the city, be sure to pop in for a stroll if you don’t make it to a show! This year, Trinity College hosts a Summer Series of gigs, while the grounds of picturesque Malahide Castle have welcomed many an international star over the years.

Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues
Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues

For traditional Irish…

One of the great things about Dublin is that you really don’t have to look very far to find a good old-fashioned, raucous traditional Irish music session. As integral to the vintage Irish pub experience as a creamy pint of the black stuff, trad is synonymous with many of Dublin’s favourite haunts, with The Cobblestone (left)Darkey Kelley’s, O’Donoghue’s, The Celt and Merchant’s Arch all regularly playing host to impromptu sessions and sing-songs.

For dance & electronic enthusiasts…

Noise of a completely different bent is in regular supply at various DJ-friendly establishments across the city. The Button Factory is especially popular with those who love to get lost in ambient, bass-heavy beats. Many a laptop-driven adventure takes place on specially curated nights in dedicated venues like Hangar, the Tivoli Theatre (home to the popular District 8 club night), Opium Rooms, Wigwam (right)Bar Tengu and Index.

Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues
Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues

For hard rock, metal, punk & experimental action…

Though you’ll find plenty of rock outfits packing out an arena or stadium, Dublin is also home to several key alternative spots that brim with atmosphere when some of the harder acts come to town. The Academy has witnessed the thrill of many a loud gig, while punk and metal fans often get their fill at Fibber Magee’s, Thomas House, Voodoo Lounge and the Mercantile (left).

For intimate delights…

Sometimes, up close and personal is best, particularly when your favourite artist chooses hallowed halls for performances where you can hear a pin drop during mesmerising moments. The Sugar Club is one such purpose-built haven, with a true original throwback feel woven in among its signature red velvet décor. Elsewhere, music lovers can worship appropriately in an ornate, delicate setting when the Unitarian Church (right) and magical Pepper Canister Church welcome performers.

Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues
Your Musical Guide to Dublin's Venues

For the best independent acts…

Fitting for a musical city keen to discover the next great world-beaters, Dublin is home to rising independent acts ready to make their mark. It’s no exaggeration to state that a new favourite act can be discovered on every night of the week, with legendary venues like Whelan’s (an iconic institution at this stage!) The Workman’s Club and the Grand Social (left) all helping to keep the Irish scene alive and kicking. The cosy Bello Bar, late night venue Sin É, The Bowery and Doyle’s are also well worth checking out if new music is your passion.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Exciting new venues are constantly popping up around the city, offering a place for Dublin’s musical heritage to express itself. Here are some more great venues if you’re looking for a night of quality entertainment.