The Best Untold Secrets Of Dublin Live Music Scene

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Hello there! Are you tired of browsing through multiple websites to find out where the best live music performances are happening in Dublin? Are you done settling for mediocre gigs because you just don’t have the time to explore all the vibrant musical offerings the city has to offer? Then look no further, because this article is your ultimate guide to experiencing the very best of Dublin’s buzzing live music scene.

By the end of this article, you’ll know where to go to catch world-renowned musicians, local talents, and emerging artists in intimate venues, dive bars, or open-air amphitheaters. Whether you’re into indie rock, acoustic ballads, jazz, folk, or electronic beats – we’ve got you covered. Not only will you discover the most exciting gigs coming up, but you’ll also learn about the rich musical history of Dublin and the influence it has on contemporary artists today.

In this article, you’ll find insider tips from seasoned music enthusiasts, interviews with rising stars, and highlights from the most anticipated music festivals in the city. But that’s not all – we’ve also compiled a list of the best music venues in Dublin for every taste and budget. You’ll get all the information you need to plan a perfect night out or an unforgettable weekend of live music. So sit back, relax, and get ready to groove to the beat of the city!

Best Live Music Venues in Dublin

Dublin is a city that boasts an incredible music scene, with venues ranging from intimate bars to grand arenas. Whether you’re after traditional Irish music or the latest indie bands, there’s something for everyone in Dublin. In this article, we will explore the best live music venues that you absolutely can’t miss during your visit to the city.

The Olympia Theatre

The Olympia Theatre is a stunning Victorian-style theater with a seating capacity of 1,252. It has been a fixture of Dublin’s music scene since it opened its doors in 1879. The theater has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and U2. It’s also a popular venue for theatrical productions and comedy shows.

Some interesting facts about The Olympia Theatre include:

  • The theater was originally built as a music hall, which later became a cinema before it became what it is today.
  • The building has an incredible history, with rumors of everything from ghosts to underground tunnels.
  • It was at The Olympia that Sinead O’Connor notoriously tore up a photo of the Pope during a performance on Saturday Night Live.

If you’re planning on attending a gig at The Olympia, here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros Cons
Intimate venue with great views from any seat The theater has a reputation for being quite hot and stuffy during gigs
Great acoustics, with a sound system that’s considered one of the best in Ireland The seating can be quite tight, which may be uncomfortable for taller or larger people.
Historic building with lots of character and charm The theater is quite old and may not be considered as modern or comfortable as newer venues

In summary, The Olympia Theatre is an iconic venue in Dublin, which offers a unique and intimate experience that you won’t find anywhere else. If you want to get up close and personal with your favorite musicians, The Olympia is the place to be.

The Button Factory

The Button Factory is a medium-sized live music venue located in the heart of Dublin’s Temple Bar neighborhood. It has a standing capacity of 750 and is known for its consistently strong lineups of both Irish and international acts. The venue has a reputation for having fantastic acoustics and excellent lighting, making it a popular spot for both musicians and fans.

Here are some interesting things to know about The Button Factory:

  • The venue was once a part of the Temple Bar Music Centre complex, which also included a recording studio and rehearsal space.
  • The building that houses The Button Factory dates back to the 19th century and has a unique industrial feel.
  • The venue has a partnership with the Irish Red Cross, and there are always volunteers at gigs who are trained to handle any medical emergencies that may arise.

Some pros and cons of The Button Factory include:

Pros Cons
Great sound quality and lighting that enhances the overall experience The venue can sometimes feel cramped or crowded, which may be uncomfortable for some people
The venue regularly hosts both up-and-coming and well-established artists, providing a diverse range of music experiences The Button Factory can be quite pricey, with some gigs costing up to €40 or more
The industrial feel and vibe of the venue is unique and adds to the overall experience The location of The Button Factory can make parking and transport difficult, especially on busy weekend nights

In conclusion, The Button Factory is one of Dublin’s top live music venues, known for its fantastic sound quality, lighting, and range of acts. It’s the perfect spot for music lovers who want to experience both established and emerging artists in an industrial, edgy setting.


Whelan’s is a beloved institution in Dublin’s music scene, having hosted a stunning array of artists across various genres since its opening in 1989. This intimate venue has a standing capacity of 450 and a reputation for being one of the best places in the city to see up-and-coming acts. Many artists who played at Whelan’s early in their careers have gone on to become household names in Ireland and beyond.

Here are some noteworthy things to know about Whelan’s:

  • The venue is located in the heart of historical Wexford Street, which has a rich and colorful history all its own.
  • Whelan’s has a house policy of booking only original music, meaning that they don’t typically book tribute acts, cover bands, or other non-original music.
  • The venue has had some iconic moments over the years, including a now-legendary gig by Jeff Buckley in 1995, just a year before his untimely death.

If you’re considering a visit to Whelan’s for a gig, here are some pros and cons to keep in mind:

Pros Cons
The venue has a rich history, with an incredible roster of artists who have graced its stage over the years Being such an intimate venue means that it can feel crowded or uncomfortable during particularly popular gigs
The focus on original music means that you’re likely to discover new and exciting acts that you may not have encountered elsewhere Whelan’s is a notoriously strict venue on entry and exit times. If an act finishes early, the venue is quick to ask attendees to leave
The location is central, making it easy to find and get to via public transport The intimate nature of the venue can be limiting for some bigger acts, who may choose to perform at larger venues instead
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In conclusion, Whelan’s is one of Dublin’s most iconic and celebrated live music venues, known for its focus on original music, intimate atmosphere, and storied history. It’s the perfect spot for music lovers who want to discover new and exciting acts and experience the very best of what Dublin’s music scene has to offer.

Live Music Venues in Dublin

Dublin is renowned for its live music scene, attracting local and international performers from all music genres. The city offers an array of concert halls, pubs, nightclubs, and outdoor spaces that showcase quality live music on any given night. Here are some of the prominent live music venues in Dublin:


Located in Dublin’s historic music district of Wexford Street, Whelan’s is a popular music venue that has hosted local and international acts since it opened in 1989. With three separate rooms catering to different-sized crowds, Whelan’s offers a diverse range of genres such as rock, indie, folk, and jazz. The intimate atmosphere and the venue’s rich musical history make it a favourite among music lovers.

The Olympia Theatre

Established in 1879, The Olympia Theatre is one of the oldest and most iconic live music venues in Dublin. With a seating capacity of over 1,600, The Olympia has hosted some of the biggest names in music, such as Ed Sheeran, David Bowie, and Adele. The theatre has a unique 1920s-style interior and state-of-the-art acoustics, making it a sought-after venue for both up-and-coming and established musicians.

Vicar Street

Owned and operated by Aiken Promotions, Vicar Street is a modern music venue that can hold up to 1,500 people. Since opening in 1998, the venue has hosted some of the world’s best-known artists, including Bob Dylan, Radiohead, and Prince. With its state-of-the-art sound system and comfortable seating arrangement, Vicar Street is the ideal venue for both concerts and comedy shows.

Croke Park

Croke Park is the largest outdoor music venue in Ireland, with a capacity of up to 82,000 people. The stadium has hosted numerous music events, including the Irish leg of the legendary U2 360° Tour, which had a record-breaking attendance of 260,000 people over three nights. Croke Park’s central location make it the perfect venue for large-scale music events.

The Academy

Opened in 2007, The Academy is a multi-room venue that caters to a variety of music genres such as rock, pop, and electronic. The venue can hold up to 850 people and has played host to many prominent acts such as Paul Weller, Mumford & Sons, and Arctic Monkeys. The Academy’s impressive lineup and its intimate setting make it a popular spot among music fans.

Pros and Cons of Live Music Venues in Dublin

When it comes to live music venues, there are a few pros and cons to consider. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of live music venues in Dublin:


  • Dublin has a thriving live music scene, with a wide array of venues and music genres.
  • Live music venues offer an exhilarating experience that cannot be replicated by listening to music at home or online.
  • Live music venues provide an opportunity for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents and make a name for themselves.
  • Live music venues help to support local musicians and the wider music industry by providing a platform for live performances.


  • Live music venues can be noisy and crowded, making it difficult to hear the music or have a conversation.
  • Tickets for live music events can be expensive, and venues may have strict entry requirements such as age restrictions or dress codes.
  • Live music venues can be prone to accidents and incidents, such as overcrowding, drug and alcohol abuse, and rowdy behaviour.
  • Some live music venues may not have adequate facilities, such as parking or seating, which can make the experience uncomfortable for attendees.

Comparison of Live Music Venues in Dublin

To further illustrate the differences between live music venues in Dublin, we have created a table that compares the venues’ size, location, capacity, and notable performances.

Venue Size Location Capacity Notable performances
Whelan’s 3 rooms Wexford Street Up to 850 Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, Hozier, Ed Sheeran
The Olympia Theatre 1 room Dame Street 1,614 David Bowie, Adele, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys
Vicar Street 1 room Thomas Street Up to 1,500 Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Prince, Coldplay
Croke Park Outdoor stadium Jones’ Road Up to 82,300 U2, Coldplay, Beyonce, Michael Jackson
The Academy 2 rooms Middle Abbey Street Up to 850 Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, The Script

From the table, we can see that each venue caters to a unique clientele with different preferences and interests. Whelan’s, for example, is a more intimate venue with a focus on nurturing local talent, whereas Croke Park is a massive outdoor stadium that hosts some of the world’s most famous artists. Each venue has its advantages and disadvantages, but they all play an essential role in Dublin’s thriving live music scene.

In conclusion, live music venues in Dublin offer a wide range of options for music lovers to experience live performances in different atmospheres and surroundings. Whether it’s an intimate setting at Whelan’s or a massive concert at Croke Park, Dublin’s live music scene continues to grow and evolve, showcasing local and international talent.

The History of Live Music in Dublin

Dublin has a rich history when it comes to live music. From traditional Irish music to rock and roll, the city has been home to some of the greatest musicians and venues in the world. Let’s take a closer look at the history of live music in Dublin.

The Early Years of Dublin Music Scene

Dublin’s music scene can be traced back to the 17th century when the city was a hub for traditional Irish music. In the centuries that followed, the city’s music scene slowly evolved to include classical music and other forms of popular music.

In the 1950s, rock and roll arrived in Dublin with bands like The Royal Showband and The Capitol Showband gaining widespread popularity. These bands played in venues like The Ballroom and The National Stadium, which became hotspots for Dublin’s burgeoning music scene.

The Golden Era of Dublin Music

The 1970s and 80s is widely considered as the golden era of Dublin’s music scene. Bands like Thin Lizzy, U2, and The Boomtown Rats rose to fame and paved the way for the city’s reputation as a mecca for live music.

During this time, iconic venues like The Baggot Inn and McGonagle’s became the go-to spots for music lovers across the city. These venues hosted local and international acts like The Clash, Talking Heads, and The Police.

Dublin’s Music Scene Today

Today, Dublin’s music scene continues to thrive with multiple venues and festivals showcasing a diverse range of music genres. The city is home to some of the most iconic music venues in the world like Whelan’s, Vicar Street, and The Olympia.

The annual Electric Picnic festival, held in Stradbally, County Laois, attracts music lovers from all over Ireland and beyond. The festival has featured performances from international artists like Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, and The Strokes.

Overall, the music scene in Dublin continues to evolve and grow. With top-notch venues, talented local artists, and international acts passing through, there’s no doubt that Dublin will continue to be known as a city that truly loves its live music.

Pros and Cons of Dublin’s Music Scene

Pros Cons
  • Diverse range of music genres
  • Iconic and historic music venues
  • Talented local artists
  • Regular festivals and events
  • Expensive ticket prices for some events
  • Occasional noise complaints from residents near music venues
  • Increased traffic congestion during music events
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Dublin’s music scene has many positive aspects. A diverse range of music genres ensures that there is something for everyone. Iconic and historic music venues such as Whelan’s and The Olympia contribute to the city’s cultural heritage. Talented local artists provide a platform for emerging musicians to showcase their skills. Regular festivals and events like the Electric Picnic create a sense of community and celebrate the best of live music.

However, there are also some negative aspects of Dublin’s music scene. Some events can be expensive, making it difficult for music lovers on a tight budget. Local residents sometimes complain about noise levels from music venues. Increased traffic congestion during music events can make it difficult for commuters to get around the city.

Despite these downsides, Dublin’s music scene remains one of the most vibrant and exciting in the world. From traditional Irish music to rock and roll, the city has something for everyone. As the scene continues to evolve and grow, there’s no doubt that Dublin’s reputation as a global music hub will only continue to strengthen.

Exploring the Best Live Music Venues in Dublin

Dublin has a rich and vibrant live music scene, with something for everyone. From traditional Irish music sessions to rock concerts and everything in between, there are plenty of venues where you can experience live music like a local. Here are some of the best live music venues in Dublin that you should explore:

The Olympia Theatre

The Olympia Theatre is one of the oldest and most iconic live music venues in Dublin. It has hosted some of the biggest names in music, including Adele, David Bowie, and Radiohead. The venue has an intimate feel, with a capacity of just over 1,600, making it a great place to see your favourite artists up close.

Vicar Street

Another popular venue for live music in Dublin is Vicar Street. This venue has a capacity of over 1,500 and has played host to acts like Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, and Arctic Monkeys. The theatre-style seating means that no matter where you are in the venue, you will have a great view of the stage.


Whelan’s is a legendary venue in Dublin’s live music scene, known for its intimate atmosphere and talented performers. The venue has a capacity of just 400, making it one of the smallest live music venues in the city. However, this only adds to its charm, and you are likely to see some of the best up-and-coming talent in Dublin at Whelan’s.

The Button Factory

The Button Factory is one of the most popular live music venues in Dublin, with a capacity of over 700. It has played host to a diverse range of acts over the years, including Sinead O’Connor and The Killers. The venue is known for its state-of-the-art sound system, which ensures that every performance is of the highest quality.

How to Get the Best Deals on Live Music Tickets

Attending live music events in Dublin can be expensive, especially if you are on a tight budget. However, there are many ways to get cheaper tickets and save money. Here are some tips to help you get the best deals on live music tickets in Dublin:

Sign up for Mailing Lists

Many venues in Dublin offer mailing lists that you can sign up for, which will give you access to exclusive pre-sale offers and discounts. This is a great way to get early access to tickets and save money.

Follow Venues and Artists on Social Media

By following your favourite venues and artists on social media, you can stay up-to-date with the latest news and announcements about upcoming events. This will give you the inside scoop on when tickets are released and when special offers are available.

Buy Tickets in Advance

One of the best ways to save money on live music tickets in Dublin is to buy them in advance. Many venues offer early bird discounts or reduced prices for tickets bought before a certain date. This can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you plan on attending multiple events.

Check Out Resale Sites

If you miss out on tickets for a sold-out event, don’t despair. There are many reputable resale sites where you can buy tickets from other fans who can no longer attend. However, be prepared to pay a little extra, as resale tickets can be more expensive than the original face value.

Consider Attending Free Events

Finally, don’t overlook the numerous free live music events in Dublin. Many bars and pubs offer free live music sessions throughout the week, and there are several festivals and outdoor concerts that are completely free to attend.

Choosing the Right Time and Place to Enjoy Live Music

Dublin is a lively city with plenty of live music events taking place every night of the week. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some tips for choosing the right time and place to enjoy live music in Dublin:

Choose the Right Time of Year

Dublin has a vibrant live music scene all year round, but certain times of the year are better than others. For example, the St. Patrick’s Day festival is a great time to experience traditional Irish music in Dublin, while the summer months are packed with outdoor concerts and festivals.

Choose the Right Time of Night

Most live music events in Dublin take place in the evening, but the start time can vary. If you want to avoid crowds and get a good spot near the stage, consider arriving early. On the other hand, if you prefer a more lively atmosphere, arrive later in the evening when the crowd is likely to be larger.

Choose the Right Venue

Dublin has a wide range of live music venues, from small intimate pubs to large arenas. Consider the type of experience you want to have and choose a venue that suits your preferences. If you want to get up close and personal with the artist, choose a small venue. If you prefer a larger, more energetic atmosphere, choose a larger venue.


Dublin has a vibrant and exciting live music scene, with an incredible variety of venues and events to choose from. By following these tips, you can experience live music in Dublin like a local and make the most of everything this amazing city has to offer. Whether you are a fan of traditional Irish music, rock, pop, or something in between, Dublin has something to suit everyone’s tastes and preferences.

How to find free live music events in Dublin

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is known for its vibrant and ever-growing music scene. With various live music events taking place throughout the year, it can be hard to keep track of all the free shows that are available. If you’re looking to catch some live music in Dublin without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a breakdown of how to find free live music events in Dublin.

Check Out Local Publications and Websites

One of the best ways to learn about free live music events in Dublin is to check out local publications and websites. Publications such as Hot Press and Totally Dublin often have listings for upcoming events, including free shows. Websites such as Nialler9 and GoldenPlec are great resources for finding live music events, highlighting the best of the Dublin scene. Many websites also offer a mailing list or social media pages where they post all their free live music events in Dublin, so make sure to follow them to stay updated.

Visit Local Pubs

Pubs are an integral part of Irish culture, and many of them offer live music performances. Visiting a pub or two in Dublin is a great way to catch some free live music shows. Many pubs have live music sessions on weekdays or weekends, where upcoming artists or established bands perform for free. The best part is that you can grab a pint or two while enjoying the live music. Some popular pubs in Dublin that offer free live music events include The Cobblestone, Whelan’s, and The Brazen Head.

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Attend Festivals

Dublin is famous for its festivals that showcase music, culture, and arts. Many of these festivals offer free live music events that you can attend. For example, the St. Patrick’s Festival, which takes place in March every year, has a variety of free events featuring live music performances. The Temple Bar TradFest, which celebrates Irish and traditional music, has many free events throughout the festival. It’s worth keeping an eye on any upcoming festivals, as they often have free live music shows.

Join Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are great sources to find free live music events in Dublin. Many groups are dedicated to promoting and sharing information about live music shows in Dublin. For example, the Dublin Live Music Scene group has over 20,000 members and is a hub for finding live music events in the city. You can also search for specific genres or locations to find groups tailored to your preferences. Joining these groups is a great way to stay updated on upcoming shows.

Explore Busking

Dublin’s streets are alive with music, thanks to the city’s busking culture. Many street performers showcase their talents throughout the city, creating an amazing atmosphere. While not necessarily a traditional live music event, exploring busking can be a great way to catch free live music shows in Dublin. The best time to catch buskers is during the summer months, but you’re likely to find them throughout the year. Grafton Street and Temple Bar are popular busking spots, but you can find them in many locations throughout the city.


These are just a few ways to find free live music events in Dublin. From checking out local publications and websites to exploring busking, there are many opportunities to catch some great live music in the city without spending a dime. Make sure to use these resources and take advantage of the vibrant and diverse music scene in Dublin.

Pros Cons
Free live music events available throughout the city. Not all free shows will be of high quality.
Chance to see up-and-coming artists perform. Limited seating and standing room in some venues.
Great way to experience Irish culture through music. Some free live music events may be overcrowded.
Various genres of music to choose from. Not every free live music event will be suitable for all ages.

FAQs: Dublin Live Music

What kind of live music can I experience in Dublin?

Dublin is known for its diverse range of live music, with something for every taste. You can experience traditional Irish music in many pubs or listen to contemporary bands and musicians performing in various venues throughout the city. From rock to jazz, folk to pop, there is always something happening to suit your musical preferences.

Where can I find information about live music shows in Dublin?

You can find information about upcoming live music shows in Dublin through various channels. Check out various event listing websites like Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, and Dublin Music Board. You can also follow the social media pages of musicians, bands, and venues for upcoming events and shows.

Does Dublin have any famous live music venues?

Yes, Dublin has a few venues that are famous for live music such as Whelan’s, Vicar Street, and Olympia Theatre, each offering a unique experience. These venues have seen some of the world’s most prominent musicians, and the quality of the sound is unbeatable.

What is the best time to attend live music shows in Dublin?

Dublin is a city that never sleeps, so you can attend live music shows throughout the week. However, the weekends are the best time to attend live music shows because many venues schedule their best events during this time. You can also opt for midweek shows, which are often cheaper and less crowded.

Is it expensive to attend a live music show in Dublin?

This depends on the venue and the musician performing. Some venues offer affordable tickets, while others may have prohibitively high prices. Nevertheless, attending live music shows in Dublin doesn’t have to be expensive. Many pubs offer free traditional Irish music performances, and there are always several affordable gigs scheduled throughout the city.

Are there any outdoor live music shows in Dublin?

Yes, Dublin hosts plenty of outdoor live music shows, especially during summer. The most famous outdoor events include the annual Bulmers Live at Leopardstown and the open-air Forbidden Fruit festival in the city center.

Can I attend live music shows with my kids in Dublin?

Yes, some venues in Dublin offer live music shows for families and kids. You can check with popular venues such as Whelan’s, Olympia Theatre, and the National Concert Hall for family-friendly concerts.

What is the dress code for attending live music shows in Dublin?

There is no specific dress code for attending live music shows in Dublin. Some venues may mention a dress code on their website or ticket, and it’s always good to be aware of their expectations. However, most venues allow casual wear, so dressing comfortably is a better choice than dressing up.

Can I buy alcohol at live music shows in Dublin?

Many venues in Dublin are licensed to sell alcohol, and you can order your favorite drink while enjoying live music. However, not all venues provide alcohol, so check with the venue beforehand or bring your own beverages if necessary.

Are there any precautions I should take while attending live music shows in Dublin?

Like attending any public events, be aware of your surroundings and take appropriate precautions to stay safe. Avoid carrying excessive cash and valuables, and be aware of pickpockets. Drink responsibly and arrange transport to and from the venue in advance.


Dublin is a music-lover’s paradise, offering various opportunities to enjoy live music shows throughout the city. From traditional Irish music to contemporary bands and musicians, there is something for everyone. Stay updated about upcoming shows through various event listing websites and social media. If you’re planning to attend a live music show, dress comfortably, drink responsibly, and be aware of your surroundings. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and fantastic music that Dublin has to offer!

After reading this article, you can explore some of the famous live music venues like Whelan’s, Vicar Street, and Olympia Theatre or attend outdoor events like Bulmers Live at Leopardstown and Forbidden Fruit Festival. You can check out some of our other articles about Dublin’s food, history, culture, and more. Thank you for reading and come back for more exciting articles!