A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

Put Blades, Waterboys and Bay City Rollers in your Christmas stocking

Give the gift of live music – tickets to a gig make a great stocking-filler for musicheads

Shang-a-langers: The Bay City Rollers will have you all wrapped in tartan this Christmas

Shang-a-langers: The Bay City Rollers will have you all wrapped in tartan this Christmas



The gift of music is eternal. Going to a live gig is quality time spent with a loved one, so for elders who would like to introduce youths to bands that really deliver in their live shows, consider original Dublin new-wavers The Blades, who play the Academy, in their home town on Saturday December 15th, tickets €30, and Scots-Irish folk rockers The Waterboys, whose Irish tour takes in Leisureland, Galway on Saturday December 1st; Vicar Street, Dublin on Monday and Tuesday 3rd and 4th; Wexford Opera House on Wednesday 5th; Knocknarea Arena, Sligo on Saturday 8th; and Cork Opera House on Monday 10th. Tickets from €36.50 upwards. Many of these venues operate an over-18s policy because of bar licences so ask about venue policies before you buy.


Fangclub’s granite riffs and Nirvanaesque brevity have garnered them rave reviews and a serious musichead following. Headbang along on Saturday December 14th at Sound House, Dublin and at Mike the Pies, Listowel, Co Kerry on Friday December 21st. Tickets €15.

Go low with gravel-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter Allan Rayman, who plays the Workman’s Club on Saturday December 15th, tickets €17.50.


Crowd-pleaser, multi-platinum award-winning singer, songwriter and global superstar Josh Groban will take to the 3Arena, Dublin, on Sunday December 16th.


Tickets for happy-clappy folk-pop duo Hudson Taylor and Grammy-nominated folkster Hozier are sold out, but you could take them to NI alt-rockers Ash, who play Dublin’s Academy on Wednesday December 19th. Tickets €27.


Is there someone in your family who fancies himself as a bit of a crooner? Then he might enjoy The Rat Pack Live on Friday December 14th at the Crescent Concert Hall, Drogheda. Tickets from €15.


Elder stateswomen can show the younger gals how fans rocked out to one of the original boybands, The Bay City Rollers, when they play Cork’s Opera House on Monday and Tuesday December 3rd and 4th; Ulster Hall, Belfast on Thursday 6th; the Olympia, Dublin on Friday 7th and the Royal Theatre and Event Centre, Castlebar on Saturday 8th; tickets from €33.50.


For a trip down memory lane, Amazing George Michael is a tribute-style dinner and a show session at the Bonnington Hotel in Whitehall, Dublin 9, on Friday and Saturday December 14th and 15th that is guaranteed to be a floor-filler. Tickets from €55.


The Improvised Panto runs at Cork’s Opera House on the weekends of December 7th and 8th; 14th and 15th and 20th, 21st and 22nd. A strictly over-18s affair and an annual southern tradition, the show features made-up hilarity, on-the-spot songs, dancing and insane dialogue. Tickets from €22.50.


Phil Coulter’s Gold and Silver Days tour is an opportunity to enjoy a 50-year back catalogue that includes Eurovision winners, folk classics, tender ballads and sporting anthems. He takes in Draíocht in Blanchardstown on Tuesday December 4th; The Civic Theatre, Tallaght on Wednesday December 5th and the National Concert Hall on Saturday December 15th, tickets from €30.


Rock and jazz funksters The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble bring their Book of Sound album to the acoustically rich surroundings of the National Concert Hall on Saturday December 1st, tickets €30.


A tea dance aimed at an entirely different vintage takes place on Saturday December 8th. The Peaky Blinders Christmas Jazz Club at the Parlour Vintage Tea Rooms in Waterford city is a dress fancy shindig rather than fancy dress, but you’re encouraged to don a flapper dress and string of pearls or a three-piece suit and take to the floor. Tickets from €27.55.


To celebrate Kila’s 30th anniversary, Féile Kila sees Ireland’s best world band take to the stage at the National Stadium on Thursday December 22nd.Tickets €25.