Dublin wakes up to early morning, alcohol-free raves

Morning Gloryville lets commuters dance their way into the work day

Dominique McMullan went along to 'Morning Gloryville', a 6am sober rave to kickstart your day. Video: Darragh Bambrick

The beats are pounding the walls as Adam Sweetman and Thomas Joyce step outside the club on St Andrews Lane for a smoke. They are parched from dancing and quickly grab a drink from the bar, which offers an array of smoothies, coffees and teas. They stand in the doorway sipping their drinks and watch as morning commuters battle the elements to get to work.

Both are taking a breather from Morning Gloryville - an alcohol-free, early morning rave which offers a new and innovative alternative to those dreaded 7am gym classes.

Joyce says it initially felt “bizarre and surreal” dancing sober with friends covered in neon paint and glow sticks first thing in the morning.

“I think it shows a very positive development in Irish society,” he says. “It’s less pretentious and goes to show people don’t need to be intoxicated to enjoy themselves.”


“You get a free hug when you come in the door,” adds Sweetman. “It sets great vibes with great people and great music.”

The Morning Gloryville movement of alcohol-free raves, which include yoga classes and head massages, first began in London in April 2012. The event's popularity quickly spread, with morning raves popping up in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Bangalore.

‘Boozy culture’

Chris Flack organised the first Dublin-based Morning Gloryville in July 2014, and says it was an immediate success despite initial worries about Ireland's "boozy culture".

“We’re all looking for a release when we’re on our way to work,” he says. “It’s about having the ability to let go in a sober environment and dancing like nobody’s watching.”

When asked if strays from the night before turn up, he says sober raving is “like Kryptonite” to anyone who has actually been drinking.

“As soon as they get in they want to drink and there’s no drink. They see people doing yoga and it’s just like what the hell is going on here.

“When you’ve had a few drinks you’re looking for a kebab or more alcohol and we don’t have that.”

Tara McGuinness, who helped organise Wednesday’s rave, says people will carry the buzz of dancing with them through the day.

“Alcohol and drugs pollute our emotional wellbeing. The atmosphere here is so positive, there’s something here for everyone.”

“That buzz will continue on for days once your body reminds itself of its natural ability to touch base with its own happy endorphins.”

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast