Welcome to our ‘Postcard from Ireland’ where the Irish Family History Centre try and give you a flavour of some of the new or lesser known museums / exhibitions and attractions in Dublin and further afield in Ireland.
Dublin has an extremely vibrant and exciting theatre scene, the best known being the famous Abbey and Gate theatres. However there are many other smaller theatres which provide excellent productions from plays to musicals, as well as many other forms of artistic expression.
Many people travelling like to gain a more local experience and in Dublin visiting one of our many theatres will provide this as well as a great nights’ entertainment. In the city centre itself there are two particular venues that come to mind.
Firstly there is the Smock Alley Theatre which lies on the banks of the River Liffey; it’s foundations lie in the oldest part of the city. The original theatre opened in 1662 and was known as the ‘Theatre Royal’ with the plays of George Farquhar (The Recruiting Officer), Oliver Goldsmith (She Stoops to Conquer) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (The Rivals) being performed by renowned actors such as Peg Woffington, Charles Macklin and even the greatest actor of his generation, David Garrick.
The once great theatre fell into disrepair and the doors closed in 1787. The building changed hands several times until it was eventually a lowly warehouse housing whiskey barrels and flowers for the flower market. Then in 1811, the building was recreated as a Catholic Church known as the Church of St. Michael and St. Johns (which it remained until 1989). In 2012, Smock Alley Theatre returned to its roots. 350 years after it was first built the theatre was restored to become once again a bustling hub of theatre, song, dance, art and creativity.
One of the most unusual theatres in Dublin was created in a hall behind Connolly Books, a bookshop in the cultural quarter of Temple Bar, and is known as ‘The New Theatre’. A working theatre for over 21 years they focus on providing a space for developing writers, actors, directors and technicians. The building is one of the oldest buildings in Temple Bar and served many purposes over the years. The theatre and bookshop were completely renovated in 2006 and for those searching for a unique cultural experience we suggest investigating what they currently have playing.
Many visitors stay in the Dublin suburbs and will be glad to know there are excellent theatres in many neighbourhoods. Theatre groups will do nationwide tours which take in the smaller venues and there are also numerous amateur Musical and Dramatic societies, who put on high quality productions. Listed below are some of these theatres and we’d recommend anyone planning a visit should check them out, or if there is a local theatre near where you are staying, and what’s on.
Until next time why not check out the entertainment listings for your local area and enjoy a night of drama, music or dance?!
By Fiona O’Mahony