POP AND TRAD - two new music experiences in Dublin
For those of you who are interested in
both Traditional Irish Music and the amazing success of
Irish groups on the Rock and Pop scene Dublin has a treat
in store: Two new music museums have opened this year, one
dedicated to the traditional scene and the other to Rock
by Olivia Walker
When I say Rock and Roll, the IRISH MUSIC HALL OF FAME
on Middle Abbey Street has actually a whole lot more. You
are taken on a tour with the aid of state of the art audio
equipment. These are head phones which pick up the narrative
or music of each section of the museum as you move through
it. You will note as you cross the dotted lines on the floor
that the tapes change to fit in with the new exhibitions.
The atmosphere is set by the posters and the covers of the
Irish Rock and Pop magazine Hot Press that
greet you as you descend to the Stage Door complete with
tour through Irish music attempts to trace the roots of
the success that many Irish bands have enjoyed on the world
stage. Starting with the folk roots and Ceilis of
the 1920s and the growth of traditional dance through the
music of the Exiles. They have displays of the instruments
including a small button accordion from the early 1900s
and a scene from a modern day pub ‘session.’
of you might recognise the tuxedo wearing figure that stands
before you as you enter ‘The Show Band Era.’ Our former
Taoiseach Albert Reynolds was a successful Ballroom owner
in the 1960s. The Showbands brought the music of popular
culture to the youth of Ireland. All the greats are here
from Philomena Begley, Big Tom and Joe Dolan to Rory Gallagher
and Van Morrison who bridged the gap between the showbands
to Rock Music with what became known as the Beat
Groups. There is memorabilia from all the main acts
ranging from costumes to contracts and tickets. As you pass
on to the 1970s you are confronted with the folk revival
and Celtic rock. Here you see Luke Kelly’s sheepskin coat,
Liam Clancy’s Aran sweater, Christie Moore’s Bodhráin with
the lyrics of Lisdoonvarna written on it, and lots more.
This is a music experience not to be rushed. We’ve only
just started and though it is billed as an hour, you could
double that time if you are a keen music fan.
you come to The Age of Punk with such notables as
Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols (yes - he was Irish). The
Undertones and The Boomtown Rats. Stay and listen to the
conversation of the Garage bands. It is quite amusing if
you can understand the ‘Dart Accent’. Again you have a treasure
trove of tickets, bank books, posters and hand written lyrics
to study. Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats who set up Live
Aid (a fund raiser), which was the biggest single event
ever in Rock history, has donated a lot of background paperwork
and the (unwashed) T-Shirt he wore for the concert!
platinum record of Joshua Tree, costumes worn by U2, along
with part of the graffiti-covered wall from the Windmill
Lane recording studio are all on display here.
women of Irish Music have not been forgotten either. The
dress worn by Dana as a 14 year old school girl in 1970
when she won the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘All kinds
of Everything’ is here- She is now a member of the European
Parliament! Sinead O’Connor has donated the 1990 Billboard
Music Award No1 World wide single she received for ‘Nothing
compares to you’. There are also donations from the
likes of Mary Black, Enya, Sharon Shannon and Dolores Keane
to mention only a few!
is a display for Riverdance together with the costumes
of the principle dancers. Northern Ireland gets a mention
too with donations from Brian Kennedy and Divine Comedy.
Before finishing on this level you enter the Ireland
Goes Pop section with music and displays from the pop
culture of Boyzone, to the rock trad style of The Corrs,
to the ‘bubblepop’ of Bewitched and many more.
is now an elevator ride for which you must remove your head-phones
and then walk down a corridor decorated on one side with
plaster moulds of the hands of the drummers of the more
famous Irish bands. On the other side are windows that look
into a 500 seater music venue known as H.Q. At the end of
the corridor is a room housing more instruments and costumes
and several interactive computer games that challenge your
knowledge of the Irish Rock/Pop scene. To finish your visit
there is a fifteen minute film of interviews with a lot
of the stars you have just been introduced to.
Irish Music Hall of Fame houses a shop, Restaurant,
three bars and the 500 seater H.Q. as well as the museum.
It is definitely worth a visit though I do have a couple
of gripes - Firstly the headphones were only available in
English. Secondly the dialogue often started in the middle
which could be confusing. However, if you stay at the display
long enough it does come round to the start again.
the tapes have a tendency to jump. Often if you were not
in the right spot there was interference which was extremely
annoying. Hopefully these are just teething problems that
will be sorted out. Don’t let them put you off!
TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC MUSEUM is located in the revitalised
Smithfield area of Dublin in The Francis O’Neill Hotel named
after the Chicago Chief of Police who collected and published
Irish Traditional Music. He published 6 books between 1903
and 1924 and is credited with keeping the flame of Irish
Traditional Music alive during those years of emigration
and poverty. The museum is called simply Ceol (Irish
for Music), and my only criticism is that it is not more
is an interactive exhibition divided into four parts, History,
Instruments, Song and Dance with a film to draw it all together.
There are touch screen computers telling the story and history
of Irish Music and you choose from a menu of topics. It
is very informative and you will need time to go through
the children (of all ages!) there is the interactive room
with notes you press to make a hand play the flute, a very
large puzzle about the construction of instruments, a quiz
to test your knowledge of Irish music and footpads to jump
to and fro on to play different instruments. There are more
computers with information on all the different instruments
and samples of the best of Irish talent playing them in
the different styles: Jigs, slides and reels. In the middle
of all these computers is a small group of statues playing
different instruments. If you stand beside one of them you
will hear the instrument of that particular statue playing
over the music of the others.
stone walled room gives a cottage feel to the Story room
where you can sit and listen to a dialogue of peoples’ experience
of Irish music and its influences on them. The Song exhibition
has just one set of computers telling you about the story
and theme of the songs. You then enter a room full of metal
people sitting in an outer circle looking into the middle
of the room where you can sit and watch them. Each metal
person has a television for a head and the picture on the
T.V. is of somebody’s head. You can choose the type of song
you would like to hear and one of the metal people will
sing it for you while the others all look on - very impressive.
then go upstairs to the Dance section. As you enter look
up at the soles of the shoes of someone dancing on your
head! There is a sculpture of dance shoes on the wall and
a display which tells the story of the evolution of dance.
At the back of the room is a wooden dance floor with mirrors
at either end and two video screens the size of real people
on each side. You can choose a set dance, jig or reel and
the videos show people dancing. You can join them on the
finish your visit there is a short film on the different
traditions, instruments and influences from around the country.
The screen is 180º and gives the feeling of being whisked
across the land and sea to different places. It is an interesting
and informative video that shows people playing all the
traditional instruments and singing. If you have questions
about any part of the exhibition there are enthusiastic
guides on hand to explain it all. There is also a shop with
an extensive range of Videos, C.D.s, books, instruments
anyone who wants to know more about Irish Music or has just
heard a tune and half liked it, this is a must see venue.
It can take as little as one hour or as long as you like
if you go through all the topics on the screens.
Music Hall of Fame: Open 10am to 6.00pm 7 days a week
all year except Christmas day. Adults £6.00. Student/Under
16/O.A.P. £4.00 Family: 2 adults, 2 Children £18.00. Group
rates are negotiable. They have a website at www.irishmusichof.com
Open 9.30am to 6.00pm Monday to Saturday. 10.30 am to 6.00pm
Sunday. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday. Adults £3.95.
Student/O.A.P. £3.50. Children £3.00. Family: 2 Adults 2
children £12.00. You can also visit their website at http://www.ceol.ie
you are interested in Irish Music and want to keep up to
date you could send for a copy of Irish Music Magazine,
11 Clare Street, Dublin 2. It lists upcoming concerts or
sessions in Ireland, England, Europe and in a small way
the US as well as carrying articles and information on the
traditional Irish scene. It costs $45.00 (including postage)
for a year to America. Don’t forget to let them know you
heard about them through INSIDE IRELAND!
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