Hundreds join Glen Hansard for Christmas Eve Grafton Street busk

Annual sing-song in Dublin city centre to raise funds for two homeless charities

Hundreds of people gathered on a rainy Grafton Street in Dublin city centre on Christmas eve as Glen Hansard and other musicians busked for charity in what has become an annual tradition.

Among those joining him were Gavin James, The Coronas and Damian Rice, according to reports on Twitter. However there was no sign this year of U2’s Bono, much to the disappointment of some fans gathered.

The street was so thronged that Hansard told the crowd that while the gathering was amazing “we’re either going to have to move or this or end it and call it....we’ll do one song and we’ll call it,” he was shown saying on a video posted to Twitter.

Among the songs sung over the evening were Heyday, War is Over and Fairytale of New York.


Tweeting about the event earlier in the day, The Frames singer advised fans to “dress warm” for the sing-song at 5.30pm.

“Happy Christmas Eve... we’ll busk and sing on Grafton st, 5:30pm, dress warm, all proceeds to @PMVTrust @Dublin_Simon Homeless Shelters,” he wrote.

Money raised from the event are being given to the two homeless charities, The Peter McVerry Trust and Dublin Simon Community. This will be no surprise to many given the Once musician's involvement with the Home Sweet Home campaign in Apollo House.

In previous years a rabble of well-known musicians including Bono, Hozier, The Script and The Coronas, Damien Rice, Mundy, Paddy Casey, Liam O'Maonlai, Declan O'Rourke, have busked for 100s of fans. The large crowd normally brings Dublin's most famous pedestrian shopping street to a standstill.

Glen Hansard has been prominently campaigning to help reduce homelessness in recent weeks. He is one of the founders of the Home Sweet Home campaign along with musicians Christy Moore, Hozier, Damien Dempsey, Liam O Maonlaí, director Jim Sheridan, actors Saoirse Ronan and John Connors, and members of the band Kodaline.

Dozens of homeless people have been sleeping at the vacant Dublin city centre office block, Apollo House, on Tara Street and Townsend Street . It was taken over last week by activists in the Home Sweet Home Coalition, and offers accommodation to homeless people.

The property was part of a portfolio of loans relating to Shelbourne Developments, a company controlled by Garrett Kelleher, which were taken over by Nama. In April 2014, Nama appointed Mazars as a receiver to the properties.

On Wednesday a High Court judge ruled the people occupying Apollo House must leave the building by January 11th.