The vibrant city of Dublin has always been synonymous with music and the arts and there’s no doubt that its rich musical heritage is a real point of pride for the people that live there.

The city’s love of music is also evident throughout the city, from walking down the infamous Grafton Street where you can find local singers performing to visiting Windmill Recording Studios where the likes of U2, Hozier, Kate Bush, the Rolling Stones, Kylie Minogue and The Script have all recorded their music.

Whilst there’s certainly more to this fair city than just its musical heritage, we think it’s a pretty good place to start. So, if you are looking to walk in the shoes of legends like U2, The Cranberries, Thin Lizzy and more, then you’d better pack up your guitar and follow our Music Editor Emma Harrison’s guide to the music lovers guide to Dublin.

The city is a fantastic destination for music lovers at any time of the year, but especially New Year. For the first time since Covid, the annual New Year’s Festival returned with a bang at the North Wall Quay.

There were three acts that performed to the sold-out crowd which included singer-songwriter Lyra who dazzled the audience with not just her powerful voice, but her spectacular outfit which included some seriously stylish silver boots. Gavin James was next to perform with his guitar who performed an uplifting and passionate set which showcased his stunning vocals exquisitely.

Dublin’s New Year’s festival was headlined by no other than one of the most famous boy bands in the world – Westlife. Despite one member Mark Feehily not performing due to battling pneumonia, the remaining three members Shane, Kian and Nicky magnificently displayed how the show must go on with an energetic and sensational set.

As well as performing some of their most-loved hits which includes tracks like ‘You Raise Me Up’,  ‘World of Our Own’, ‘Swear it Again’, as well as their covers of ‘Uptown Girl’ and ‘What About Now’.

Fans were also treated to a fun and effervescent ABBA megamix which included snippets of the Swedish supergroups most iconic hits such as ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’, ‘Mamma Mia’, and of course the track that got everyone moving ‘Dancing Queen’.

Dublin’s always been a great place to visit at New Year and the New Year’s festival was no exception and was a fantastic way to bring in 2023.

If you can’t visit at New Year and are a huge music fan, here’s our pick of Dublin haunts that no music lover can’t fail to miss.

The Phil Lynott Statue

For those who love to rock, Thin Lizzy will always be on your playlist. Dublin was the home of the charismatic and flamboyant frontman – Phil Lynott. His bronze statue is a life-long tribute to his musical legacy and can be found on Harry Street outside his favourite pub –  Bruxelles, which remains a firm favourite with rock music fans.

Irish Rock ’N’ Roll Museum

Talking of Thin Lizzy, the Irish band are a huge focus of the Irish Rock ’N’ Roll Museum which can be found only steps away from the renowned Temple Bar area. Here you’ll find a large Thin Lizzy exhibit which includes Phil Lynott’s bass guitar and some of the tee shirts he used to wear.

This iconic attraction is a must-visit for music lovers. The tour includes a look around recording spaces, studios and performance areas  where some of Ireland’s best music artists have rehearsed and recorded.

Music fans will love seeing standout sights such as the largest sound desk in the country, platinum discs and music memorabilia from world-renowned artists like The Edge (U2) Michael Jackson and Phil Lynott.

See some live music

Were you even in Dublin if you didn’t catch some live music? Whether it’s seeing the aforementioned buskers and street performers, one way to fully immerse yourself into the music scene of Dublin is to see them perform in one of Dublin’s many pubs. From Johnnie Fox’s pub in the mountains to the bars and pubs in the city itself.

From The Cobblestone to the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn, you won’t be short of locations to see fantastic live music. U2 fans simply must pay a visit to the iconic Ha’Penny Bridge which was one of the locations for many U2 photoshoots back in the day.

Have a drink at the Clarence Hotel

The U2 connection continues! Even if you are not staying at this upscale hotel in Temple Bar that is owned by The Edge and Bono, it’s certainly worthy of a visit to enjoy a cheeky tipple. Head on down to the Octagon bar, an intimate and plush venue that also offers dinner and afternoon tea, so there’s really something for everyone.

Channel your inner rockstar at the Windmill Lane Studios

An absolute must for music lovers is a guided tour around the iconic Windmill Lane Studios where you can learn about the creation and production of albums and songs by some of the world’s most successful recording artists.

The original studio buildings opened in 1978 in Windmill Lane but were demolished in 2016, and this was put up in its place. There’s a juxtaposition between the old and the new, where platinum discs adorn the walls from the musical masterpieces that were recorded over the last 40 years and fans can also see the studio space where the bands of today including The Script who were recording there at the time we visited.

The guided tour effortlessly fuses technology, audio-visual media and intuitive storytelling from our informative guide to allow visitors to explore the studios, discover their history and see how a recording session works where you can even have a go at trying out the mixing desk.

Other highlights of Dublin to add to your hit list

For the history lovers

Ireland has a rich history and there are many standout attractions to visit that showcase the country and especially Dublin’s storied past. Take a step back in time to the Jeannie Johnston Famine Ship Museum where 2,500 took a gruelling voyage on the Jeanie Johnston during the Irish famine.

It serves as a compelling and visual reminder of the arduous journey that those fleeing Ireland took. You can get a real insight into life on board a famine ship and hear the stories of the people who made the arduous voyage which was located a short walk away from where we were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin City Centre.

Another historical highlight is the EPIC museum which tells the story of not only Irish immigration, but the momentous impact that the Irish have had all over the world. The exhibition is fully immersive, high tech and visual and tells hundreds of different stories in a thought-provoking and informative way.

For fans of the arts

From literature to the arts, the Irish have always made their mark. If culture is a priority when visiting a new city, then make sure that you add both the Museum of Literature Island (MOLI) to your list and the National Gallery of Ireland too. At both you can explore the rich literary and artistic heritage, either by perusing the exhibitions independently or by taking a guided tour.

Book lovers will adore seeing fantastic exhibits from literature stalwarts from the old to the modern day which includes the acclaimed Seamus Heaney, James Joyce and more.

Definitely carve out a few hours to see the impressive display at the National Gallery which includes an extensive collection of artists from 1300 to the present day.

This year will see new exhibitions focusing on Irish artists like Lavinia Fontana and Sarah Purcer amongst others.

For foodies

It goes without saying that Dublin is synonymous with Guinness and whilst it’s a bit of a trek to get to, no visit to the Irish capital is complete without taking a tour around the Guinness Storehouse where you can learn about the history and culture of the black stuff.

There’s even ample chances to try some different variants and enjoy a drink in the Gravity Bar which has far-reaching panoramic views of the city.If a ‘wee dram’ is more your ‘cup of tea’, then you can enjoy a similar experience at the super cool Old Jameson Distillery where you will be taken through the history of the drink as well as trying a few different flavours – it would be rude not to!

For eating out, Dublin offers something for everyone from gluten-free pizza to inventive fine dining.

Culinary highlights include the Harbour Master restaurant, the brilliant Elephant & Castle where you can chow down on the most delicious chicken wings and for traditional Irish cuisine Gallagher’s Boxty restaurant in Temple Bar which was one of my personal favourites along with the Woollen Mills which had a great menu and excellent service.

Whether you are thinking of a last minute break for Valentine’s Day, a sojourn over to the Irish capital to celebrate St Patrick’s Day or just want to explore the Emerald Isle for an enjoyable city break, you can fly from most UK airports via Ryan Air and be in the heart of the city within 25 minutes.

Huge thanks to Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland and our helpful and informative guide Katie Murray-Haydon for such a wonderful trip.


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