Since the economic downturn that began in 2008, Dublin residents and holidaymakers have enjoyed an upturn in the arts – particularly drama and the theatre. The death of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ was an extreme jolt to the confidence of the nation; in order to soften the blow the Irish interest in its own culture and arts was renewed. The recession that has hit Ireland so hard has -ironically – in many ways been good for those on a short break or holiday in Ireland: prices at pubs have come down slightly (finally); the exchange rate has been far more favourable; and, finally, there has been something of a renaissance in the arts. At many of the darkest hours in Irish history the people have taken solace from their inclination, gifts, and traditions in the acted and written word. Whilst there has been less funding for cultural projects since the crash there has been a rise in smaller low-budget productions, and also some private theatres have been built, for example, Bord Gais.
The Abbey Theatre
The Abbey was founded by William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, John Millington Synge and George Moore. These heroes of Irish literature would ensure that the theatre would gain an excellent reputation in its early years – one which has continued up to the present day. Situated on the corners of Marlborough and Abbey streets’ it is in an excellent position for anyone staying in central Dublin during their holiday. The surrounding streets are awash with hotels, excellent bars and transport hubs, including: the Luas; the DART; Connolly Station and Busaras.
The Abbey is Dublin’s most famous theatre. For any theatre-lovers who are holidaying in Dublin, a visit to this theatre is an absolute must.
Some of the more famous names to have their productions staged at the Abbey include: Sean O’Casey; Yeats; John Millington Synge; Bryan Friel. George Bernard Shaw’s play Major Barbara is running at the Abbey until September 2013.
The Peacock Theatre
The Peacock theatre, which is part of (and located in the same building as) The Abbey, is a separate stage that showcases the work of up-and-coming playwrights and artists. If you are on a short break or holiday in Dublin and would like to sample some of Dublin’s contemporary theatre scene then this is the stage for you.
The Gate Theatre
The Gate Theatre may not be able to compete with The Abbey in terms of history, but the historical value of the building that houses it beats the Abbey hands down. As you approach, the lavish Georgian Architecture of 1 Canvendish Row will add to the excitement already felt at the prospect of a night at the theatre. The extensions to this building, which were necessary to turn it into a theatre, represent one of those few occasions where the architecture of old and new harmonise tastefully.
If you are planning your short break in Dublin around a trip to the Gate then you will find there are a host of excellent hotels in the vicinity. A good place to start you search is just over the road on Parnell Square. Although quite expensive the Chapter One restaurant, housed in the basement of the Irish Writers Museum on Parnell Square, is in the perfect location and sets the perfect tone for an afternoon preceding a night at the Gate Theatre. Jury’s Hotel, also on Parnell Square, is a good base for any theatre-themed Dublin holiday.