Arguably one of the most famous venues in Dublin, Whelan’s is a popular spot for music, drinking and dancing. It was famously utilized in the film, "P.S. I Love You," as the meeting place where the protagonist, played by Hilary Swank, first meets the love of her life and later revisits the venue with friends during their trip to Ireland. (Personally, I am not a fan of the movie and my Irish friends think the accents are ludicrous!)
The location itself dates back to 1772 but wasn’t given the name Whelan’s until 1989, when it was bought and renovated. It changed hands again in 1999, and has evolved with the intention to facilitate and support the growth of Irish musicians, as well as to attract and host famous international acts. The venue holds live music seven days a week, with a huge range of genres and the support of a very diverse crowd. Whelan’s holds special event nights like their Wednesday Silent Discos and genre themed cover band nights.
The main venue hall has a stage, a bar and two levels. This is usually where large acts will play though there is another small performance space upstairs. After every show I’ve been to, the live performers are followed by a DJ and large projections, transforming the concert venue into a big dance party. Famous acts like Jeff Buckley, Arctic Monkeys and REM have all performed here.
Ticket prices vary depending on the popularity of the bands. There is usually cover (10€) before 10:30 p.m., and entrance to the gigs may be additional depending. As a broke student, I am an advocate of sacrificing a little bit of my coolness to get there early and not have to pay. If you’re over for your study abroad or just visiting thanks to some cheap tickets, Whelan’s is a great place to find music, drinks, and dancing without having to move around to different bars. Whelan’s is located on Wexford Street, in an area with a lot of night life and is on an extension of George Street, which holds the two largest and most popular gay bars in Dublin.
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photo: Cormac Sheedy