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The 10 best theatres and art centres to visit in Ireland
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Ireland is not only famous for its playwriters, creators and poets, but it also has theatres operating across the country each with its exciting line-up of events. Explore the Irish theatre and arts scene and discover top-notch shows, exhibitions and performances.

Here are the best venues you can visit whether it's for a matinee, a browse or an evening at the theatre.

1Druid Theatre, Galway

Galway is known for its vibrant arts scene, so it's no surprise that it's home to the country's first professional theatre outside of Dublin. The Druid Theatre was founded in 1975 by arts veterans Garry Hynes, Mick Lally and Marie Mullen and its stars have toured every nook and cranny in the country and around the world making Druid one of the best-known Irish theatre companies. 

See top performances of classic Irish plays like The Playboy of the Western WorldWaiting for Godot and The Cripple of Inishmaan and be astounded at the quality performances from world-class actors.

2Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Take in a performance at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

For over 100 years, the Abbey Theatre has celebrated the power of theatre in Ireland. Founded by Nobel Laureate William Butler Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, this theatre has played a vital role in the literary, social and cultural life of Ireland. Plan a visit to experience dynamic stage adaptations from Irish writers like Brian Friel to Seán O'Casey, to ground-breaking productions of things like RoomUlysses and Let the Right One In

If that's not enough, you can even take a backstage tour for an exclusive insight into the history and behind the scenes work of Ireland's national theatre. Visitors get access to areas rarely seen by the public as tour guides explain the fascinating challenges of each new production.

3Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

Visit Smock Alley Theatre in the city centre and discover tales of its cultural history and varied past. See a show or go on a tour hosted by entertaining and unforgettable guides. There's plenty to love in this beautifully restored 17th century premises. 

If you're hungry, join a lunchtime tour and enjoy a seasonally selected artisan lunch designed by chef Paul Clune in the impressive surroundings of the theatre's Banquet Hall.

4Siamsa Tíre – The National Folk Theatre and Arts Centre, Kerry

Throughout the year, Siamsa Tíre presents a programme of drama, music, dance and literary events. Involved with the preservation of Ireland's music, dance and folklore, the performances here are vibrant and exciting. 

The cast has over 100 performers ranging from dancers, singers and musicians and Siamsa Tíre also provide Irish dance and song workshops for visitors to learn some original Irish dance steps and songs from the stage repertoire.

5Olympia Theatre, Dublin
The Olympia Theatre is one of Dublin's oldest and most renowned theatres.

Right in the heart of Dublin, the beautifully preserved Olympia Theatre is one of the capital's most-celebrated music venues. But it's not just music you'll find here. The Olympia's programme covers everything from stand-up comedy to theatre, to gigs and pantomime. 

The unique venue can host both fully seated theatre shows and can remove the seating from its stalls to facilitate up to 900 patrons at its live music gigs. No building in Dublin recalls the Victorian Music Hall more readily than the Olympia with its glass canopy supported by ornamental pillars and wrought iron scrollwork.

6National Opera House, Wexford

Ireland's first purpose-built opera house, the National Opera House in Wexford hosts the world-renowned Wexford Opera Festival. There are two diverse performance spaces in this venue, the O'Reilly Theatre and the Jerome Hynes Theatre as well as a café and multiple bars.

With kid-friendly events and interactive plays, the opera house is an enjoyable experience and families can even go backstage to see the orchestra pit lifts. Visitors can also head to the top of the fly tower to take in 360-degree views of the harbour, Mount Leinster and the coast at Tuskar Rock Lighthouse.

7Everyman Theatre, Cork

Cork's historic Everyman Theatre has been at the heart of the city's cultural life since 1897. The building is an excellent example of late Victorian architecture. It has welcomed companies such as The Abbey Theatre, Druid, Chinese State Circus and the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as artists such as Paul Brady, and Glen Hansard.

The auditorium is a favourite with audiences and performers for its atmosphere and intimacy. Enhance your experience with a meal at The Everyman Bar with its relaxed ambience and a great range of locally sourced and artisan beverages.

8West Cork Arts Centre, Cork

You'll find West Cork Arts Centre with its two intriguing galleries in Skibbereen. It showcases work from local, national, and international artists so it's worth checking in advance of your visit to see what's on. 

The Artists' Studios within its walls also provides a space for creators to work on-site and meet with the public. Their diverse educational programme focuses on workshops and masterclasses, making art accessible to people of all ages.

9Triskel Arts Centre, Cork
Visit the modern Triskel Arts Centre in Cork.

This state-of-the-art Triskel Arts Centre in Cork hosts live music, classical and jazz concerts, cultural cinema, visual art exhibitions and literary events. 

Their contemporary art room, the Triskel Gallery Space, is a dedicated exhibition room featuring contemporary artists. The Scrypt Café Bar is an atmospheric casual dining and coffee space with an excellent menu and tapas-style food in the evening.

10Brú Ború Cultural Centre, Tipperary

The Brú Ború Cultural Centre, at the foot of the Rock of Cashel, is an affiliate of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the Irish cultural movement which has over 400 branches worldwide.

Brú Ború has an impressive theatre and craft shop as well as the 'Sounds of History' cultural exhibition - that will take you back in time to discover Ireland's rich heritage. Check out the restaurant, café, bar facility and the South Tipperary genealogy suite while you’re there.

Ireland is a country with a thriving cultural scene. See our Things to Do page to find more of the fascinating theatres and vibrant arts centres across the country.

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