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Throughout the week, World Cafe travels to Dublin, Ireland — the first stop in a quarterly series called Sense of Place. We hope to give you an idea of the past and present of the city's local music scene and provide tips from musicians and music lovers for those hoping to visit this culturally rich town.
Acting as tour guide is Glen Hansard, the Academy Award-winning songwriter and singer for both The Frames and The Swell Season. Hot Press editor Niall Stokes, who helms the Irish equivalent of Rolling Stone, and musician Conor O'Brien of the band Villagers also provide local insight.
So you're in Dublin and ready to hear some music. Where do you go to find the best live shows? Conor O'Brien recommends checking in with one of Dublin's many free papers or any record store around the city. Niall Stokes' biweekly, Hot Press, is another great source for gig listings. Glen Hansard, on the other hand, advocates the easiest, if not gutsiest, approach — communication. "Look for someone you think you'd like to hang out with," he says, "and just ask where they go."
And where might they send you? Stokes highlights the neighborhood around the Liffey River, which cuts right through the heart of Dublin and was the source for the music of Riverdance. Located in that area are some of the newer grungy rock venues, like Workman's Club and the Grand Social.
Probably the most famous venue, however, is Whelan's, located on Wexford Street. It's played host to many of the city's most-loved musicians, including Hansard's band The Frames, which continues to call it home. Meanwhile, O'Brien got his start at Doyle's, a club that hosts a weekly singer-songwriter night called the Ruby Sessions.