Five Irish gigs that will go down in history

Pic: VIPIreland.com

There are some concerts we will always wish we had witnessed, whether it is that well-sought-after gig that is impossible to get tickets for or if it’s that small intimate gig an iconic band had before they were well…. iconic.

There is nothing quite like being at a concert, the mutual excitement and buzz from the person beside you and that mutual adoration for the person on stage.

Now put that concert in Ireland and the atmosphere is electric, praised for being some of the best crowds to perform to – along with our classic ‘olé olé olé’ we have had our fair share of historic gigs.

Here are five concerts in Ireland that we think will go down in History;

Queen at Slane Castle,1986

Photo by @crockpics on Twitter

July 5, 1986. A date that will go down in history is when Queen performed for 80,000 people at Slane Castle.

One of the most iconic Slane performances,  the last tour with Freddie as the frontman- you can only imagine how insane the atmosphere was.

Over 70 people were arrested trying to break down barriers in an attempt to make it backstage even with the 1,000 Gardaí and 600 security men on site.

Queen drummer Roger Taylor recalled how the concert was “really hairy”.

“I mean really hairy. The size of the crowd was incredible. There was so much mud and drunkenness. Freddie stopped the show at one point. People had been there for hours and dehydrated from drinking. Well, it’s rock ‘n’ roll, isn’t it?”

While it may have lashed, in true Irish fashion, making it quite the mucky affair but fans still come out of the woodwork to this day to tell you how amazing it was.

Nirvana at Sir Henry’s, Cork in 1991

It was August 1991, it was also three days after the release of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Nirvana play at a pub venue in Cork, a gig which the manager has said may not have even happened, “Nirvana were booked for £100 (about €350 now) which was actually a lot of money back then and there was some debate about if we were even going to take them!”

Nirvana did not hold the iconic status they hold now but Sonic Youth were actually what drew the crowd, it is said that Nirvana actually only had about 20 people watching them.

Little did they know their lives and the lives of music lovers everywhere would never be the same just a short while after when ‘Nevermind’, their most famous album was released.

This small gig has taken on a myth status in Irish history with new people claiming to have seen them constantly but for that small crowd who witnessed history, they had no idea what was around the corner.

As a fan said on Twitter “…in a few weeks the world woke up to #Nirvana, and there was never a show like #SirHenrys again” and they couldn’t have been more correct.

One Direction at Croke, 2014

Photo by @crokepark

A concert you will still hear many people say they wish they were at – we certainly do!

They certainly went down in history as the biggest boyband in the world they also went down as one of the most anticipated and sought-after gigs in Ireland.

While you may not have known their music then and perhaps you still don’t know it now, you can surely say you felt the force that swept through Ireland when One Direction announced they would play Dublin in 2014.

A homecoming for Niall Horan, the 20-year-old from Mullingar and the only Irish amongst 5 members that made the famous boyband.

Thousands of teens swarmed Croke Park with endless flags and hats bearing different members’ names but one thing about the Irish, we will support our own.

It was Niall Horan’s night and the screams only amplified when he appeared in shot.

As said in an Irish Times article from the time “Say what you want about the cynical music industry, but with his family watching and the crowd on board, watching thousands applaud a young lad from Mullingar on a colossal stage realising his dreams is incredibly touching.”

“I want to tell you a quick story about a young man from Ireland…” Styles says, introducing Horan for the umpteenth time. This is One Direction’s gig, but it’s Horan’s night.

Gareth Brooks, 2022


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A post shared by Garth Brooks (@garthbrooks)

After making global headlines in 2014 when he famously pulled the plug on his Irish shows at Croke Park in 2014, when Dublin City Council refused to grant the American musician five dates, Gareth Brooks came back with a bang in 2022.

We don’t think there was a person in Ireland who did not know someone giving out about this Gareth Brooks guy cancelling!

But as promised he returned and this time around succeeded in securing his five nights which sold out instantly.

More than 400,000 tickets were sold for the five-concert series and no expense was spared by Gareth who spent a lot of money on his stage which closed out his stadium tour before heading home to the States.

He chose to have no supporting act and sang for 2 hours straight, the city was a wave of cowboy hats and boots and I think everyone in Ireland took a deep breath that the second time around it all went smoothly

Ed Sheeran at Whelans, 2015

Photo by VH1 on Twitter

Before playing his major gigs in Croke Park Ed Sheeran actually made a more intimate appearance for a gig in Whelans.

At the time this singer-songwriter’s storyteller’s gig was tipped to be one of the most anticipated musical events of the year.

It drew a large crowd of about 400 people with tickets being raffled off everywhere for a chance to win tickets.

Ed even explained that he chose the venue after having seen Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice play a gig there when he was a teenager.

This was what encouraged him in his pursuit of a musical career.

Can you imagine heading out for a pint and walking into an Ed Sheeran gig, he even played there again in 2022.

One of the more odd but iconic performances Ireland has seen for sure!


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