With a heritage extending from the likes of George Bernard Shaw, Dublin has a venerable and vital theatrical tradition. Homegrown talent has kept the many theaters here alive, whether it's actors like Colin Farrell or writers like Marina Carr (By the Bog of Cats) and Marie Jones (Stones in His Pockets). Complementing the talent are beautiful, historic theaters so vaingloriously gilded that they make every performance an event. Most theaters are within the city's Northside, not far off the river.
There are also numerous theater festivals, ranging from the Dublin Fringe Festival each September (www.fringefest.com) to the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (www.gaytheatre.ie) held the first 2 weeks of May.
The online booking site Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.ie) is an excellent place to get a quick look at what's playing where and also to buy tickets. In addition to the major theaters listed below, other venues present fewer, although on occasion quite impressive, productions. They also book music, dance, and stand-up comedy performances. They include the Focus Theatre, 12 Fade St., Dublin 2 (tel. 01/671-2417; www.focustheatre.ie); the Olympia, 72 Dame St., Dublin 2 (tel. 01/679-3323; www.mcd.ie); Project, 39 E. Essex St., Dublin 2 (tel. 01/881-9613; www.project.ie); and the Tivoli, 135-138 Francis St., opposite Iveagh Market, Dublin 8 (tel. 01/454-4472; www.tivoli.ie).
On any given night, you can find almost anything -- rock, pop, jazz, blues, traditional Irish, country, or folk, so check listings magazines to find out what's on where. Music and dance concerts take place in a range of venues -- theaters, churches, clubs, museums, stadiums, castles, parks, and universities. While you're more likely to choose your entertainment based on the performer rather than the venue, these institutions stand out.
Smaller Concert venues -- If you prefer more intimate settings, below are some of the best small venues in Dublin. The Village is among the newest and hottest; Whelan's and Vicar Street are the old favorites. (For what it's worth, Vicar Street was named "live music venue of the year" in 2008 by the prestigious Irish Music organization.) Check local listings, or the individual websites, to find out what's on when you're in town:
- Button Factory, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (tel. 01/670-9202; www.buttonfactory.ie)
- Vicar Street, 58-59 Thomas St., Dublin 8 (tel. 01/454-5533; www.aikenpromotions.com)
- Whelan's, 25 Wexford St., Dublin 2 (tel. 1890/200-078 or 01/478-0766; www.whelanslive.com)
- Eamonn Doran's, 3A Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 (tel. 01/679-9114; firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The Village, 26 Wexford St., Dublin 2 (tel. 1890/200-078 or 01/475-8555; www.thevillagevenue.com)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.