Upwardly mobile – Dublin clubbing on the cusp of the Celtic Tiger [November 1997]


‘The Irish dance scene is booming to such an extent that many dance devotees from foreign lands are now prepared to travel here to sample the finest that the Irish clubs have to offer, proving incontestably that our reeling reputation abroad is stronger than ever…’

So begins an article in the 29 November 1997 edition of the Irish Independent, which despite its unfortunate title (Swingers, really?), is an interesting snapshot of the Dublin clubbing scene on the cusp of the Celtic Tiger years – a period in which techno, handbag, drum ‘n’ bass, hip hop, trance and a myriad of other genres converged.

It was also a period in which midweek clubbing was at its zenith, with a range of different options available seven days a week, at venues such as The Pod, Temple of Sound, The Kitchen, Ri-Rá and others.

“What makes the Irish dance scene special is not the fact that so many are talking about so few,” the late Martin Thomas of Strictly Fish puts it, “but rather the fact that within these venues, the dancers of Dublin are able to avail of such an unmatched spectrum of dancing styles. Clubbing is now at an unparalleled peak.”

Elsewhere, among those interviewed in the piece, Billy Scurry weighs in on the discussion, about the role that Sides DC played in the capital’s clubbing evolution (“What that club meant to people will never be repeated”)’; former The Kitchen manager Nodd McDonagh recalls the U2-owned club’s mid 90s peak (“We could have easily filled the venue two or three times over”), while Donal Scannell offers his take on the then-burgeoning drum ‘n’ bass scene, led by Quadraphonic. “If you’re not into the music, you won’t hang around for long,” is his appraisal.

As to whether the good times were set to continue, Martin Thomas notes that the success of Irish DJs is testament to the long-term stability of the scene.

“Irish DJs are more than capable of upholding this new clubbing tradition,” he says. “There is now a positive feeling of a long-term commitment to dance in Ireland, and this is something we want to cultivate.”

As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone… 🙂

[Article taken from the Irish Independent, 29 November 1997. Click images below to open in a new tab]

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