Olympia Theatre, Dublin

Coordinates: 53°20′39.4″N 6°15′58″W / 53.344278°N 6.26611°W / 53.344278; -6.26611
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3Olympia Theatre
The Olympia
Front entrance of the Olympia Theatre in August 2009
3Olympia Theatre is located in Central Dublin
3Olympia Theatre
3Olympia Theatre
Location within Central Dublin
Former namesStar of Erin Music Hall
Dan Lowrey's Music Hall
Dan Lowrey's Palace of Varieties
Empire Palace Theatre
The Olympia Theatre
Address72 Dame Street
Republic of Ireland
Coordinates53°20′39″N 6°15′58″W / 53.34428°N 6.26611°W / 53.34428; -6.26611
TypeConcert and events venue
Capacity1,289 seated, 1,621 standing and seating
Renovated1977 & 2016
ArchitectJohn J. Callaghan[1]

The Olympia Theatre, branded since 2021 for sponsorship purposes as the 3Olympia Theatre, is a concert hall and theatre venue in Dublin, Ireland, located on Dame Street.

In addition to Irish acts, the venue has played host to many well-known international artists down through the years such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, David Bowie, Billy Connolly, Hall & Oates, R.E.M., Gary Numan, Radiohead and Adele.[citation needed]

The venue is owned by Caroline Downey of the music promotion company MCD Productions,[2] with naming sponsorship provided under an eight-year deal with telecoms company, 3 (Three Ireland).[3]



Dublin's Olympia Theatre started out as The Star of Erin Music Hall in 1879,[4] with its principal entrance opening onto Crampton Court.[5] The theatre was built on the site of a former saloon and music hall originally called Connell's Monster Saloon in 1855.[6] It was renamed Dan Lowrey's Music Hall in 1881. In 1889 it was renamed again, this time to Dan Lowrey's Palace of Varieties. It was again renamed The Empire Palace in 1897 after undergoing a series of refurbishments.[6] It was renamed the Olympia Theatre in 1923.[7]

In September 2021, as part of an eight-year sponsorship deal with telecoms company Three Ireland, the venue was rebranded as the "3Olympia Theatre".[3] The name-change which accompanied the sponsorship deal, reportedly prompted to "help the theatre recover from the COVID-19 pandemic", was subject to some controversy.[4][8][9] The family of the former owners reportedly organising a petition against the change.[7]

A branch of the River Poddle flows directly underneath the theatre.[10]


The possibility of demolishing the building was considered by the local council and the owners.[when?] Previous owners had attempted to get permission to demolish the theatre as early as 1970, despite a 1967 Dublin City Council resolution calling for the building's preservation. A scheme to replace the theatre with an office block, multi-storey car park and a smaller theatre were rejected.[11] In November 1974, the Olympia was forced to close following major structural damage when parts of the proscenium arch and the ceiling above collapsed during a break in rehearsals for a production of West Side Story. A restoration fund was begun and Dublin City Council eventually placed a preservation order on the theatre. The theatre was restored and redecorated, allowing it to reopen on 14 March 1977.[6]

In November 2004, a truck reversing on Dame Street crashed into the front of the Olympia, damaging the building.[12] A cast-iron and glass canopy from the 1890s, by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, was demolished during the accident but subsequently restored.[13] In 2016, the theatre was again refurbished. This time the building was completely refurbished at a cost of over €4 million with the venue remaining open during renovation work.[14]

Performance history[edit]

The venue has hosted both domestic and international acts, including: Adele, Ryan Adams, Arcade Fire, Aslan, Barenaked Ladies, David Bowie, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Connolly, Chris Cornell, Dead Can Dance, Marina Diamandis, Ellie Goulding, Florence and the Machine, Foo Fighters, Kraftwerk, KSI, Laurel and Hardy, LCD Soundsystem, Amy Macdonald, Gary Numan, Paramore, Radiohead, The Coronas, The Corrs, The Killers, The Script, Tori Amos, and Vulfpeck.[citation needed]

Tom Waits recorded his live version of "The Piano Has Been Drinking" here, released in 1981 on the Bounced Checks compilation.[15] Comedian and actor Dermot Morgan recorded Dermot Morgan Live here on 16 April 1994. The 1995 film An Awfully Big Adventure shot a number of scenes at the theatre.[16]

R.E.M. held a five-night residency at the venue in the summer of 2007 and used those sessions for their 2009 album Live at the Olympia.[17] Kris Kristofferson recorded a live set at the Olympia for the special edition of his 2009 album Closer to the Bone.[15] Erasure played two consecutive sold-out shows at the Olympia during their Total Pop! Tour in June 2011, recording footage used for the video of their single "When I Start To (Break It All Down)".[18][19][20] The band played again in this venue in 2014 for two consecutive sold-out nights and in 2018 for three consecutive nights.

Tori Amos played her first European gig in the Olympia. In September 2015, Sweden's Eurovision Song Contest winner Måns Zelmerlöw kicked off a 17-date European tour at the venue.[21] Paramore kicked off their European tour of their new album After Laughter from this theatre in June 2017.[22][23]


The Olympia, along with Dublin's Gaiety Theatre and The Helix Theatre, presents an annual Christmas pantomime. Its most recent productions have been Aladdin, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Robin Hood and a revival of Cinderella which starred Jedward as the Fairy Godbrothers. In 2011, the Olympia pantomime featured Jedward once more in Jedward and the Beanstalk.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The History of the Olympia Theatre". Olympia Theatre Website. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Irish public react to Dublin's Olympia theatre being renamed". Irish News. Evoke. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Olympia Theatre to become 3Olympia following sponsorship deal". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Olympia Theatre rebranded under new sponsorship deal, Dubliners dismayed". irishcentral.com. Irish Central. 16 September 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  5. ^ "The Olympia Theatre, Dame Street, Crampton Court/Sycamore Street, Dublin 2, DUBLIN". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH). 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  6. ^ a b c "History of Dublin's Theatres and Music Halls – Olympia". arthurlloyd.co.uk. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
  7. ^ a b "3's a crowd: backlash over sponsor's name change for Dublin's Olympia theatre". The Guardian. 21 September 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  8. ^ "High drama at the Olympia Theatre over rebranding". thetimes.co.uk. The Times. 19 September 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  9. ^ "'I spent two hours crying' – Daughter of former Olympia Theatre owner hits out at renaming as 'cultural vandalism'". independent.ie. Independent News & Media. 17 September 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  10. ^ Clarke, Howard B.; Dent, Sarah; Johnson, Ruth (2019). "8 (Houses and Hygiene)". Dublin. The Making of a Medieval City (1st ed.). Dublin: The O'Brien Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-78849-120-4.
  11. ^ McDonald, Frank (1985). The destruction of Dublin. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. p. 44. ISBN 0-7171-1386-8. OCLC 60079186.
  12. ^ "Olympia canopy to be restored after crash". The Irish Times. 18 November 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  13. ^ Falvey, Deirdre (21 April 2007). "Mysteries of the Olympia's canopy". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Olympia Theatre: Dublin's Oldest Theatre Gets A Brand New Look". Hot Press. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  15. ^ a b Byrne, Stephen (9 April 2015). "Ghosts, Glitz and Glamour: A Brief History of The Olympia Theatre, Dublin". Irish Independent. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  16. ^ "An Awfully Big Adventure film locations". movie-locations.com. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  17. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (29 October 2009). "R.E.M. Live at the Olympia". Pitchfork. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Erasure Setlist". Setlist.fm. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Erasure Setlist". Setlist.fm. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Erasure – When I Start to (Break It All Down) (Official Video)". ErasureVEVO. 18 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2017 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Ivan, Lucy (23 September 2015). "Måns Zelmerlöw at the Olympia Theatre – Review & Photos". Dublinconcerts.ie. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Paramore 'After Laughter'". Warner Music Ireland. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  23. ^ "Paramore Setlist". Setlist.fm. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  24. ^ Hegarty, Shane (23 December 2011). "Jedward and the Beanstalk". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 June 2017.


External links[edit]

53°20′39.4″N 6°15′58″W / 53.344278°N 6.26611°W / 53.344278; -6.26611