Where do you reckon the best live venue in Ireland is?
Not a bit of it.
This is no Festy McGonigal’s or Thumper O’Toole’s or whatever quaint name some corporate owners decided to put on it. Instant Irish pub. Just add Guinness and stir lightly.
See that sign above the door? It says Dolan’s and when you walk in, you won’t see some financial controller lurking in a corner sipping a skinny latte and counting beans. You’ll probably bump into Mick Dolan, or Valerie Dolan, or Neil Dolan or Sarah Dolan, the hardest-working family in Irish music promotion, and what’s more, they’ll know your name.
It’s no accident that Dolan’s was named best live music venue. That happened through years of hard effort, commitment and determination, putting on big names, small names and sometimes, no-names. Taking a chance on a hunch. Showing faith in the musicians, the actors, the comedians, and the occasional plainly deranged performer who happens by. Being open to a good idea, or even to a worthwhile idea. Supporting a good cause when asked.
You don’t buy that sort of loyalty from your customers — you earn it. And not by bean-counting, no matter how many skinny lattes you throw back.
I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award.
Here’s a few memories.