The Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience
Open only a few months, the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll museum experience has become an eminent part of Dublin tourism. As music holds a prominent part in Irish culture, with an extensive history of artists which have influenced music globally, it was only a matter of time before somewhere like this was established.
Located at the core of Dublin’s prominent music scene, Temple Bar, it is convenient for locals and tourists alike.
On introduction, we are greeted by the lovely tour guide Klara, who hands us our VIP Rock ‘n’ Roll passes, while telling us she herself has played within these walls. The authenticity of having a musician who has rehearsed in these studios just adds to the experience, especially as Klara is so informative and enthusiastic.
She brings us deep into the heart of The Button Factory, where throughout the years hundreds of musicians have rehearsed, and begins to tell us some interesting facts.
Next we are brought into a small cinema, where we watch a short film on the history of Irish music, from humble beginnings to present day acts. This part of the tour is very nostalgic, and as a fanatic of all things Irish music, I’m not afraid to admit I got a bit emotional. That lump in my throat formed as we went reeling in the years of such fantastic, influential musicians all from our fair isle; we sure are a talented bunch.
Then it was time to form our own rock band! Klara brought the tour, which was made up of myself, another Irish gentleman and an American couple, into a rehearsal room which was full of costumes. I adore dressing up, so this part was particularly enjoyable. My fellow band mates laughed at my get up which was a purple feather jacket and an over sized hat, but I confess, I liked it! We named our band “The Gobshites” and our first album was aptly named “Full of Shite”. We rocked out on some instruments as Klara kindly played our personal photographer, before being escorted the the backstage “green room”.
This was a cool insight into the life of real Rock ‘n’ Roll stars, although Klara did assure us that we were real rock stars. We saw photographs of famous people who have played there, examples of riders and then we got to make our own; which turned out to be a modest request of some Jameson Whiskey.
Soon we were guided up the stairs for our big performance, which was brilliantly animated by the sound of an “audience” screaming and a roar from Klara introducing us to the stage. She really embodied the perfect chauffeur for our rock ‘n’ roll group, building up excitement at every moment.
After a few on-stage photographs, we had a look at some U2 memorabilia before being led up to the VIP viewing area. Again, here were some superb rock ‘n’ roll photographs, capturing the greats forever.
On we go, out to the rock ‘n’ roll “Wall of Fame” which is a dominant focal point of Temple Bar. Again, Klara tells us some interesting stories about some prominent figures in the scene. From here we are brought into the recording centre, home of Sun Studios.
We are brought up to an area where a nice gentleman shows us the sound desk, which is surrounded by Thin Lizzy memorabilia. He begins to tell us some stories as I gaze mesmerized at the desk; I have always had a massive interest in sound engineering.
The next part was also interactive and really fun for me, unfortunately my tour group were not as enthusiastic, as we took to the instruments, with yours truly as the singer, for some rock ‘n’ roll karaoke; The Boys are Back in Town our song of choice.
We were brought to the gift shop then with the tour brought to a close, The Gobshites parted ways, sighting irreconcilable differences as the reason for the bands break up.
Overall, the tour was informative, enjoyable and a fun experience. Honestly, I think the ticket prices are too costly and while it may be a draw for tourists, it does alienate locals who would be interested but deterred by the price. It would also be nice if as a token we got to keep the VIP tour passes.
As a tour I would really recommend it for a group; it would be the perfect Christmas party activity! For anyone with even the slightest interest in our music heritage, it is definitely a must. If you can manage to book a tour with Klara as the guide you are in for a treat, she is brilliant fun and really brings it to life; although I am sure all of the guides do. Combine with a trip up to the Phillo statue and a few drinks around town, it makes for a fantastic day out.