Dublin theaters are one of the best places to experience contemporary Irish culture. A lengthy literary heritage makes Dublin one of the best places in Europe to catch a play, so be sure to do your research and purchase tickets beforehand, as there will most likely be far more options than you have time to see. The National Theatre of Ireland is the Abbey Theatre. Founded by the master Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the Abbey Theatre features drama, comedy, and some of the top actors in the country. If you’re looking for shows in Dublin, there are choices in a range of price brackets, that all will satisfy your need for a night at the theater.
Before your trip to Dublin, consult the Abbey Theatre schedule to see what is currently on. The theater’s web site allows you not only to choose your seats, but to see the view of the stage from the seats before you purchase. Discounts are available for students and senior citizens. On the night of the performance, arrive early to enjoy a drink in the upstairs bar, as the lively atmosphere in this bar will only increase your anticipation for the show. Before the show, you can also place an order for drinks during intermission, which will be ready and waiting for you at the bar once you arrive from your seat.
Beneath the Abbey Theatre is the Peacock Theatre. Home to more experimental and contemporary works, the Peacock Theatre is a smaller space. It too has a bar where drinks are available at intermission, and the vibe is less classic, more downtown-cool. The Abbey and Peacock Theatre both occupy the same building, but they are accessed from different sides. Entering the Peacock Theatre feels like going through the stage door and downstairs into somewhere private. The converted practice space has a unique atmosphere, and it is definitely one of the best places for shows in Dublin.
The other option is the Gate Theatre Dublin. This theater is more tea at intermission than a glass of wine, so to speak, but it has a fantastic, classic feel. Often showcasing the work of the biggest contemporary Irish writers along with Irish classic productions, the Gate is another favorite of Dublin theaters. Many restaurants around the Gate and the Abbey offer pre-theater specials, so if you’re interesting in trying some of the best restaurants in town, take advantage of these early-bird offers.
There are other Dublin theaters in Temple Bar as well. If you’re traveling on a budget, these shows in Dublin will be ideal. The Projects Art Centre web site has the schedule, or you can head to the box office during the day to see if you can get tickets. Another popular choice for Dublin nightlife is the Laughter Lounge, a comedy club located near the Abbey Theatre. Some of the world’s most famous plays were first performed in the Abbey Theatre, including works by Irish playwrights such as Samuel Beckett. Popular playwrights today include the award-winning Conor MacPherson, Brian Friel, Martin McDonagh, Marina Carr, and Billy Roche. Many of these playwrights have experienced great success and seen their plays have successful runs in both New York and London. Seeing a play at the Abbey Theatre you will likely be the first to see a future major hit.
Image: Dublin Tourism