Phone shops, hair salons, bookmakers, sushi bars and even a funeral home… time hasn’t been kind to Dublin’s old record stores.

As this fascinating Tweet from journalist and radio producer Ken Sweeney, taken from the Hot Press yearbook 1979, shows, the Irish capital used to be teeming with record shops. Golden Discs, which somewhat aptly was ‘saved’ by the recent vinyl revival, had 11 outlets alone, while Dolphin Discs boasted five.

But for every stalwart like Pat Egan’s Sound Cellar on Nassau St – which is still going strong – there are countless others whose fate chose a different path (including one, God forbid, that’s now a Starbucks).

With the help of Google Maps, 909originals looks at the businesses that now stand on the sites where Dublin’s youth would have snapped up the latest long players, four decades ago.

Liam Breen, 19 Lower Liffey St , now Kokoro Sushi & Bento. Try to explain sushi and bento to the record shop goer of 1979 and you might as well have tried to explain dubstep. A quite significant change for a site which also (correct me if I’m wrong) hosted Abbey Discs in later years…

Camelot, 97A Talbot Street, now GSM Workshop. From peddling Joy Division LPs to mobile phone repair. Oh well…

Caroline Records, 42 South Richmond St, now Blow Hair & Beauty Salon/One World Laundrette. We’re not sure who ‘Caroline’ is, but if she’s looking for a competitively-priced blow dry… [EDIT: Thanks to Noel Casey for pointing out that Caroline Records actually occupied the red-fronted building next door]

Dolphin Discs, 2a Talbot St, now Sunny Phone Centre. More mobile repairs here, but at least this one comes with a bit of sunshine…

Dolphin Discs, 164 Capel St, now demolished. Insert ‘rising from the ashes’ comment here…

Dolphin Discs, 22 Marlborough St, now Tech Fix. We’re not sure if they also repair record players, but that would be a happy irony…

Dolphin Discs, 3 Burgh Quay, now Stop & Shop – The Happy Shop. Independent newsagents in the city centre are also a dying breed, so we’ll give this one a pass…

Golden Discs, 29 Mary St, now Marks and Spencer. Mary Street was a vastly different place before the Jervis Centre monstrosity moved in…

Golden Discs, 8 North Earl St, now a Starbucks. Oh, the ignominy. No further comment…

Golden Discs, 45 Capel St, now Hilan Chinese Restaurant. Is there something about the smell of old vinyl that automatically screams Asian restaurant?

Hot Wax, 49 Meath St, now South West Inner City Network Youth Centre. The best-titled record shop in the 1979 list is now a youth community centre, where we hope a love of vinyl is being imbued in the next generation…

Murray’s, 71 George’s St Upper Dun Laoghaire, now Sheahans Funeral Home. When I depart this mortal coil, I would like to be surrounded by the ghosts of old 12-inches…

Murray’s, 3 Mary St, Dublin 1, now an Internet café. In a few years time, you can expect someone else to do a similar nostalgia trip about Dublin’s last Internet café…

Music World, 69 Phibsborough Road, now a Boyle Sports. I’ll give you odds of 16/1 this doesn’t reopen as a record store…

PJM Records, 23 Upper Ormond Quay, now Raymond Quinn Solicitors. Silence in the court! Stiff Little Fingers have a new EP out…

Record World, 32 Lower Camden St, now Douglas Interiors. According to the Hot Press listings, this place may not have had a phone back in 1979, but we imagine they knew a bit about interior design…

[Screengrabs taken from Google Maps]

9 thoughts on “Lost In Music: Dublin’s record shops, 40 years on

  1. The Caroline Record shop i remember is the red unit on the right of the picture … not the hair-salon ….

  2. That was a nice trip down Memory Lane… Thanks. My own favourite was probably Hector Value/Discount Sounds in Wexford Street over which the late John ‘George’ Byrne presided…

  3. There was a golden disk in upper Stephen St. I use to work in Danfay there and got most of my Bowie collection in that shop all on RCA

  4. A few missing… The Basement, Freebird (the original one) and of course Advance Records (what ever happened to Fred?

  5. The Ballad Of Fred Talbot

    In the darkest old days in Dublin Town
    When the youth were on fire and punk was going down
    A man with a vision came around
    And he brought us brand new sounds!
    He had a record shop off Stephen’s Green
    Outside the Dando, on South King Street
    That’s where all the kids would meet
    And the start of the 1980s

    Fred Talbot! Fred Talbot!
    The man that time forgot
    Fred Talbot! Fred Talbot
    And his infamous record shop!

    Advance Records was the place to be
    With ‘Del-Boy’ Fred and the social obscene
    He’d sell you almost anything
    And he’d done it all tax free!
    Up to Belfast on the Thursday train
    Collect the boxes and back down again
    The latest sounds just out today
    And he’d throw a few my way!

    Fred Talbot! Fred Talbot!
    The man that time forgot!
    Undocumented into history
    And his infamous record shop!

    Advance Records on a Saturday
    Was the place to be, it was anarchy
    The gangs all gathered at St Stephens Green
    And the chaos on Grafton St!
    Advance Records was the only place
    You could get the records, of the latest craze
    Skinheads, Punks, and Mods and Teds
    Would get their fix off Good Old Fred!

    From Throbbing Gristle to Cabaret Voltaire
    You couldn’t buy these records anywhere
    But Fred stocked Crass & The Jam in there
    And the price was always fair!
    Advance is dead, and the scene is gone
    But my memories of that time live on
    Now it’s documented in a Visions song
    To one of Dublin’s infamous sons!
    Fred Talbot R.I.P. died February 2017

    Deklan Dachau (C) 2018

  6. Can anyone remember a record shop on cork st opposite the coombe hospital mid idea of the name

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: