Life in Dublin

Welcome to Dublin: a city with music at its very core. Every night of the week, you’ll hear the sound of live music pulsing across the city. 

Music is a living part of the city’s identity with music venues on every corner. This is a city to hear international acts at the 3Arena and the Academy one night or local bands, DJs and artists onstage at one of the hundreds of legendary venues, bars, pubs and clubs any other night of the week. 

All-round hero and half of the formidable ‘Le Boom’, Aimie Mallon shows us around her 5 STAPLE venues of Dublin’s exciting music scene.

Bands such as U2, Thin Lizzy and The Cranberries have hailed from Ireland’s capital city. And today, Dublin’s music scene is more eclectic than ever with the likes of Fontaines D.C. AE MAK, Pillow Queens and Loah charging the way to make music history of their own.

Music may be at Dublin’s heart, but it’s also full of art, creativity and culture. Of course, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to art galleries and museums. There’s the National Gallery, IMMA, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, The Science Gallery and The National History Museum among many others. Most of the museums and galleries are free of charge to students – just don’t forget to bring your student ID. 

If you want to spend a bit of money (or impress the parents when they visit), then the Guinness Storehouse or The EPIC Museum are both top picks. And, we think you’ll love The Viking Splash Tour – it’s honestly one of the best things to do, and one of our favourite ways to see the city.

But, don’t just take our word for it. Hear from Ciara Brennan, our Commercial Modern Music, Vocals graduate, and her three great things about living in Dublin.

Wexford Street

Dublin’s original live music venue that offers an intimate and unforgettable gig experience. Legendary artists such as Jeff Buckley and Nick Cave have graced the stage – as well as many BIMM students for our End of Term gigs.

The Workman’s Club
Wellington Quay

Dublin’s colourful live entertainment venue, hosting live music, comedy nights, EDM club nights and more. This is where Royal Blood had their debut gig in Ireland and is a fantastic place to see what the Dublin music scene has to offer.

The Sound House
Eden Quay

Live music and late-night venue that also caters for comedy and film nights. It’s the perfect place for an intimate gig and has hosted many Irish and international acts.

The Grand Social
Liffey Street Lower

A landmark for music lovers and performers, The Grand Social is a venue that’s hosted the likes of Pale Waves, Primal Scream and The Academic. Their high-quality sound system makes it a great place to catch live music.

The Olympia
Dame Street

Arguably the most beautiful venue in Dublin, originally opening in 1879 as a music hall. Its stage has held legendary artists such as David Bowie and Radiohead. Today, it’s undoubtedly a hub of live music in the city.

“Dublin itself is a city that’s filled with history, from ancient Viking settlements to mythological sites, there seems to be a story on every corner if you look hard enough. The city also offers a lot of diversity, and with that comes all sorts of music, food and people that help make Dublin a city full of interest.”
Matt Wilson, Bass

A stroll around Dublin is like a musical history tour. From the musical hub of Wexford Street to the Workman’s Club, the soundtrack to this city is as varied as it comes. There’s traditional music to electro-pop, folk, rock, pop and rockabilly all blaring out from pubs and bars. All you have to do is follow your ears.

Look out for: numerous events hosted across the city every week to promote, host and support new original music. Doyle’s hosts a popular event called The Ruby Sessions every Tuesday where three up-and-coming Irish acts are invited to perform an acoustic set. Well worth skipping a Netflix binge for, we promise.

“I’d say I love its musical vibe and its people. It’s a city full of musicians and events going on, where you can find somewhere to enjoy live music any day. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. And regarding the people, I have to say I’ve met lots of welcoming and friendly folks in only two months here. In some more months, I’ll tell you if I have just been lucky or if it’s just that Dubliners are awesome people.”
Manel Espinosa, Guitar


Dublin and a good night out go hand in hand. In fact, the number of people heading out at the weekend is now reminiscent of the Celtic Tiger era, with bars and pubs definitely dubh le daoine every Friday and Saturday night. And the plus side of Dublin’s small size? Its brilliant selection of clubs and bars are all within walking distance of each other. 

Open mic nights

Open Mic Nights are also big across the city – and a fantastic way to showcase your new material, network and check out local new music. Our favourite weekly nights are Apollo Sessions (The Bleeding Horse pub every Sunday), Circle Sessions (The International Bar every Monday) and Zodiac Sessions (Bruxelles Bar every Wednesday). Find more of Dublin’s best gig nights here.

Dublin’s festivals

Throughout the year, Dublin is buzzing with world-renowned festivals. These bring together musicians and make the city a magnet for creative people from all over the world.


Taking place in Marlay Park, Longitude is one of Dublin’s best festivals. Past acts include Stormzy, Phoenix, Kodaline, Cardi B and The Weekend. And the festival is only getting bigger. 2019 saw six stages while 2020’s headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky.

Forbidden Fruit

Straight at the heart of Dublin, Forbidden Fruit is the capital’s first and longest-running city-centre festival. 2020 sees the festival’s 10th anniversary, taking place in the stunning grounds of the Irish Museum Of Modern Art at the Royal Hospital. Fatima Yamaha, Underworld and Loyle Carner are taking to the stage over the Bank Holiday weekend.

No matter if you’re a carnivore, veggie or vegan, Dublin caters for everyone – and has plenty of student deals. Our favourite places to find yourself a cheeky deal include:

  • Captain America’s (Grafton Street) – Buy one main, get one free Monday to Friday
  • Boojum (multiple locations) – Grab a burrito and a drink for only €6.25
  • Apache Pizza (multiple locations) – Get a small pizza with two toppings, chips and a bottle of water for €4.99

The Ginger Cafe is also a solid favourite of BIMM Dublin students since 2011. Friendly staff, good deals and delicious food – what more do you need? You can take your lunch back to our common room too. 

Five Points is also somewhere that will be high up on your list for coffee and brunch. And, when a burger is all you fancy, you can’t go wrong with Jo’ Burger or Bunsen.

If you’re plant-based, then you definitely won’t find any shortage of delicious vegan food. Our favourites include Cornucopia, Vish.Shop, V-face and Token.

For those sweet tooth moments, you’ll be hard-pushed to resist a cupcake from Lolly and Cooks. Dublin is also recovering from its doughnut craze a couple of years ago, meaning you can find a Rolling Donuts, Aungier Dangers and Offbeats on practically every corner. Aungier Danger’s ‘Assaulted Caramel’ flavoured doughnut is seriously out of this world. 


If shopping more sustainably was one of your New Year’s resolutions (or you’ve been doing it for a while), then Dublin’s practically bursting with fantastic charity shops and second-hand clothes shops. Thomas Street, George’s Street and Camden Street are where to head if finding affordable fashion, books and household items are what you’re after. 

There are also some incredible vintage stores across the city. Our favourites are Dublin Vintage Factory and Tola Vintage. George’s Street Arcade is also where to go for alternative shops and stalls full of different nick-nacks. 

And if it’s music that’s on your mind when it comes to shopping, then check out Musicmaker, XMusic, Music Minds, Some Neck Guitars and R.A.G.E. There’s also the shopping Mecca of Dundrum Town Centre for your more commercial needs.

Ireland’s known for being green, so it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of green space around.

Dublin has a huge choice of parks including St. Patrick’s Park, St. Stephens Green, Iveagh Gardens, Phoenix Park or Merrion Square

There’s also the stunning grounds of Dublin Castle – and they’re open to the public during the day. They make a beautiful shortcut from BIMM Dublin to Dame Street and Temple Bar, too. And, if you’re after a history fix, there’s also Dublin’s War Memorial Gardens and Kilmainham Gaol.

Luas is Dublin’s light-rail transit service/tram system that crosses the city on two lines. It’s reliable, fast and means ‘speed’ in Irish. It’s a great way to see the city on the cheap. 


Grab a bike when you’re in Dublin and experience over 120km of cycle lanes that span the city. Bicycle hire is also placed around the city. Just Eat dublinbikes offers a self-rental service. A 3-day ticket costs only five euros, and the first half-hour is free.


Dublin Bus operates bus services all over the city, making it easy to get around the centre as well as to the inner and outer suburbs.


There are plenty of taxi ranks around the city and can also be called for pickups.


Dublin has two main inner-city stations: Heuston and Connolly. 

If you want a bit of time out of the city, the iconic DART trains will take you to the beautiful villages and towns dotted along the coast (with pretty epic views on the way to Greystones).


Dublin has its own airport that’s easy to get to from the city centre. Airlink Express is a high-frequency bus transfer between the airport and the city.

Any questions?

For any questions regarding Dublin student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to BIMM Music Institute Dublin please contact our Admissions Team on +353 1 5133 666 or email [email protected].