“The city was broadcasting on all frequencies… and we were picking up the signal loud and clear”

When the Sunday Independent reached out to me a few weeks back to see if I’d like to write an article about Dublin’s club scene of the 90s, I jumped at the chance. 

That article, along with an analysis of the current state of Ireland’s nightlife scene, is featured in today’s paper (4 February), alongside some fantastic photos by Paul McCarthy. You can read it here.

Thanks to Regina at the team at the Indo for letting me publish a love letter to a scene that may have moved on, but is certainly not forgotten. 

Here’s a snippet from the article:

My own clubbing journey started at the latter end of the 90s. For those that had been clubbing since the days of Sides or the Olympic, there were signs that the high-water mark had already been reached – that to paraphrase Hunter S Thompson, the ‘wave had finally broken, and rolled back’. 

But there was a new generation of clubbers to pick up the mantle, and ensure the aftershocks from Dublin’s sonic earthquake would persevere well into the new Millennium.

A typical night would start in Handel’s on Fishamble Street, at the tail end of Temple Bar, latent energy building up over several hours before we would burst forth, like fireflies, into the Dublin night. Some would head north, to the Temple Theatre, some south to the RedBox, while others sought out the subterranean delights of Switch or The Kitchen. 

All knew that our paths would likely cross once again later, at an after-party on Pearse Street, Dorset Street, North Circular Road – or, if it was a Friday night, with dawn pints in The Chancery or Slattery’s. 

Far from ‘fizzling out’, Dublin clubbing at the time seemed an embarrassment of riches, with pioneering promoters such as D1, Bassbin, Quadraphonic, U:Mack and JDP leading the charge. These were parties in which anything could happen, where lifelong friendships could be forged in a sweaty, smoke-filled basement. A time when nights would often turn into days, and back to nights again – even despite Ireland’s archaic licensing laws. 

The city was broadcasting on all frequencies… and we were picking up the signal loud and clear. 

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