Ireland’s live entertainment scene is one of the biggest and most vibrant in Europe. Not only are there pubs and bars playing live music around every corner, but there are also grand Opera Houses, Concert Halls and Theatres that feature bands or plays by famous screenwriters. These incredible theatres can be found all over the island of Ireland. Babylon Radio made a list for you of the 20 Theatres in Ireland that we found most interesting.
The Abbey Theatre was founded in 1904 and is also known as the National Theatre. The founders of the theatre, W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory had the vision to “bring upon the stage the deeper thoughts and emotions of Ireland”. Over the years, the Abbey Theatre has premiered and nurtured the work of major Irish playwrights such as Marina Carr, Frank McGuinness, Tom Murphy and many of the newer generation of writers such as Richard Dormer, Stacey Gregg and Elaine Murphy.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 12pm-7pm
Address: 26/27 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1
Contact: +353 (0)1 887 2200
The Gate Theatre was founded in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir and became internationally famous as one of the most adventurous and far-sighted playhouses in Europe. It was here that Orson Welles, James Mason, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Michael Gambon began their exceptional acting careers. The Gate Studio next to the theatre functions as the prime rehearsal space for The Gate as well as the starting point for the next generation of artists that want to get onto the world stage.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm
Contact: +353 (0)1 874 4045
The Olympia Theatre started out as The Star of Erin Music Hall in 1879. The building had a significant makeover some years later, closing as a music hall and re-opening as a theatre called The Empire Palace. The venue is unique in that it can host both fully seated theatre shows and that it can remove the seating from the stalls area for standing shows. The venue has hosted both domestic and international acts over the years.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 10.30am to 6.15pm (subject to performance schedule)
Address: 72 Dame Street, Dublin 2
Contact: +353 (0)1 672 5883
The Gaiety Theatre is also known affectionately as the “Grand Old Lady of South King Street” since it is Dublin’s oldest, continuously producing theatre. For almost 150 years it has given the people of Dublin operas, musicals, dramas, revues, comedy, concerts, dance, festivals and pantomime. Despite several improvements and some stage changes, it retains several Victorian-era features, like the decorated ceilings. Another interesting feature is that performers and playwrights associated with the theatre are celebrated with handprints cast in bronze and set in the pavement beneath the theatre canopy.
Box Office: Monday-
10am-7pm (subject to performance schedule)
Address: South King Street, Dublin 2
Contact: +353 (0)1 679 5622
The aim of the O’Reilly Theatre is to present a high quality, diverse and original programme with an emphasis on cross/multi/intercultural and new music presentations. It boasts one of the widest stages in Dublin, with an audience that can accommodate 590 seated or 1000 people standing. The O’Reilly regularly hosts theatre, opera, ballet and live events from clients like Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Dance Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival and the International Literature Festival, as well as top Irish and international touring companies.
Address: 6 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1
Contact: +353 (0)1 858 6690
Formally called the Helix Centre for the Performing Arts, The Helix is a multi-purpose venue located on the main Dublin City University campus in Glasnevin. The Helix has been host to world-class performances ranging from the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra to the St Petersburg Ballet and has lit up their stage with international theatre, world singers and popular West End shows. The building contains a concert hall, theatre, studio theatre, exhibition space, artists-in-residence studios and a green room along with other support spaces.
Box Office: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Address: Collins Avenue, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
Contact: +353 (0)1 700 7000
This theatre was mostly designed for children and creates original programmes for them. Most of their events are age-specific because children’s interests are different to those of adults, and because children generally benefit more from participating in cultural activities with other children of their own age. The itinerary of the Ark changes regularly and ranges across the arts. They present theatre, exhibitions, workshops, festivals, concerts, readings, dance and much more.
Box Office: Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm
Address: 11a Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Contact: +353 (0)1 670 7788
The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre opened its doors in 2010 and is Ireland’s largest fixed-seat theatre. With 2,111 seats, it exceeds the capacity of all New York Broadway theatres. The theatre presents a diverse programme of world-class entertainment and an unparalleled theatrical experiences in an architecturally majestic setting. It offers the best of Broadway and West End alongside new, niche and local productions to as wide an audience as possible.
Box Office: Monday-Friday 11am-6pm
Contact: +353 (0)1 677 7999
The Pavilion Theatre was originally built in 2000 as a municipal theatre for the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area. It has since grown and established itself as a cultural centre of entertainment for thousands of visitors each year. They try to ensure that a high standard of art and culture is presented at the Pavilion Theatre; ranging from international theatre, cinema, dance and music companies to the best of professional and amateur companies. It also assists with artist work and development through its Patron Donation Fund Bursary.
Box Office: Mon-Sat 12pm-5pm
Address: Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire
Contact: +353 (0)1 231 2929
Locally known as The People’s Theater, the Theatre Royal is Ireland’s oldest continually operating theatre. Lovingly restored, this Victorian gem is hidden within a beautiful Georgian building in the midst of Waterford’s Victorian Triangle. It has been the hub of social and cultural life in Waterford City since opening its doors in 1785 and will continue to be the centre for drama, music, dance, comedy and all things unique for years to come.
Box Office: Monday-Friday 10am-4pm; Saturday 12pm-4pm (generally until 8pm on a performance day)
Address: The Mall, Waterford
Contact: +353 (0)51 853 626
The Town Hall Theatre incorporates a state of the art auditorium, studio space and has the nearby multi-purpose Black Box performance space on Dyke Road. The Town Hall presents an extensive and eclectic mix of theatre, concerts, musicals, dance, film, comedy and family shows. Each year, the venue is the epicentre of activity for virtually all of Galway’s key festivals and cultural events including Galway International Arts Festival, Galway Film Fleadh, Cuirt Festival of Literature, Baboro Children’s Festival and Galway Comedy Festival, to name but a few.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 10am -7.30pm
Address: Courthouse Square, Woodquay, Galway
Contact: +353 (0)91 569 755
The Everyman is one of Ireland’s leading middle scale presenting and producing theatres and a jewel of late Victorian architecture. It is a receiving house for theatre, music, opera, comedy, dance and light entertainment all year round. They maintain close links with established and emerging touring companies to ensure a consistently high-calibre programme. The Everyman specialises in drama and usually stages three in-house productions per year. In the summer months, it hosts productions by Irish playwrights.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 12pm-7.30pm (5pm on non-performance days); Sunday 4pm-7.30pm (performance days only)
Contact: +353 (0)21 450 1673
The Lime Tree Theatre is a brand new, state-of-the-art theatre, situated in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick city centre and has 510 seats. It officially opened its doors in 2012 and hosts a wide range of performances including theatre, music, comedy, traditional arts, schools performances and conferences. As a large-scale theatre, it is a significant addition to the cultural, social and economic prosperity of Limerick and the midwest of Ireland.
Box Office: Mon-Fri 2pm-5.30pm
Contact: +353 (0)61 953 400
This venue is a state-of-the-art theatre complex with a 2,010 seat capacity and is one of the largest theatre venues in the west of Ireland. It is connected with the TF Royal Hotel to make accommodations easier. The theatre itself hosts a wide and varied collection of national and international acts on a regular basis and is sure to offer performances to suit all tastes. Previous Acts include Hozier, David Gray, Christy Moore, Nathan Carter, Tommy Tiernan, Dara O’Brien and many more.
Contact: +353 (0)94 902 3111
Siamsa Tíre is probably one of the busiest theatres and art centres in the country. As home to the National Folk Theatre, they present five months of folk theatre productions from their repertoire between May and September. From October to April, Siamsa Tíre hosts a wide range of events, including touring dramas, classical music, comedy, dance and opera along with productions by local groups and musical societies. Its gallery spaces display the work of artists from Ireland and abroad as well as complementing the work of the National Folk Theatre during its season.
Box Office: September: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm; Sunday 5pm-8pm;
October-August: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm; Sunday 5pm-8pm (Sundays only when performance is scheduled that night)
Address: Town Park, Tralee, County Kerry
Contact: +353 (0)66 712 3055
Formerly known as the Glór Irish Music Centre, the Glór is a concert and events venue in Ennis. It has been the largest investor for the arts in County Clare and hosts local, national and international events throughout the year. The building is also home to a wonderful gallery that presents high-quality art exhibitions. Glór’s policy is to present work in context and to exploit thematic or artistic links between their visual and performance artists. Typically, Glór presents 5-7 exhibitions annually.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Address: Causeway Link, Cappahard, Ennis
Contact: +353 (0)65 684 5370
The Millennium Forum is one of Ireland’s largest purpose-built theatres, conference centres and event spaces, which opened in 2001. It has a seating capacity of 1000 and is the largest theatre stage in Ireland. Managed by the Derry Theatre Trust, the Millennium Forum offers everything from Broadway and West End Musicals to big-name concerts. It also provides a platform for local and community based art and theatre groups. With the largest event and conference space in the North West, it has the facilities to cater for conferences, seminars, fairs, exhibitions, banquets, lectures, business meetings and more.
Box Office: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm
Address: Newmarket Street, Derry
Contact: +44 (0)28 7126 4426
The Lyric Theatre is the only full-time producing theatre in Northern Ireland. It was first established as The Lyric Players in 1951 on Derryvolgie Avenue and then moved to its new site on Ridgeway Street in 1968. In 2004 the theatre announced a plan to redevelop the theatre on its existing site since the old building had become structurally unsound. The new theatre opened in 2011. The new facility features a main theatre with a seating capacity of almost 400 and a smaller multi-function performance space called the Naughton Studio. This new theatre is almost three times the size of the previous building and still remains the largest employer of actors and theatre professionals in the region.
Box Office: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm; Sunday+Monday 10am-5pm
Address: 55 Ridgeway Street, Belfast
Contact: +44 (0)28 9038 5685
Since its initial opening in January 1997, Belfast Waterfront has successfully established itself as Northern Ireland’s prime conference and entertainment centre. The main circular auditorium seats a whopping 2,241 and is based on the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. However, the flexible design of the Auditorium allows the stalls seating to be moved to create a larger arena. The smaller adjoining Studio seats 380. Many plays take place there every year, including operas, concerts, pantomimes, and musicals.
Box Office (at Ulster Hall): Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Address: 2 Lanyon Place, Belfast
Contact: +44 (0)28 9033 4400
The Ardhowen Theatre is situated in a beautiful lake view setting not far away from the historic island town of Enniskillen. The theatre offers a year-round programme of professional drama, pantomime, classical music, opera, ballet, jazz, blues, comedy, children’s events, traditional Irish music and more. Their programme also includes a wide variety of community-based events such as plays, concerts, charity events and school performances
Box Office: Monday-Friday 9.30am-4.30pm (8pm on performance day); Saturday 11am-8pm
Address: 97 Dublin Road, Enniskillen
Contact: +44 (0)28 6632 3233