THE family team behind music venue Dolan’s are celebrating taking top honours on the national stage.
The Dock Road venue, which celebrated 20 years in business last year, was named National Live Music Venue of the Year 2014 at the IMRO Awards in Dublin this Tuesday.
The award, presented after a public vote, is among the top industry gongs on offer, and Dolan’s beat off competition from 24 other venues around Ireland to take the prized plaudit.
The University Concert Hall also took home honours from IMRO’s HQ in Dublin, winning IMRO Munster Live Music Venue of the Year.
Mick Dolan said it was the “perfect year” to win the award, having celebrated the 20th milestone, and opening a new venue, the Kashah Social Club, replacing the sound system in the Warehouse as a result.
“We are thrilled, fantastic. To beat all the big boys, if you like, Vicar Street, the whole lot, and to come out top of the pile, is fantastic. “We are absolutely over the moon,” he said.
“There has been a great reaction from people, the goodwill is phenomenal, from people in the business and everything - just fantastic.
“It has a high profile and is a big platform for us to get the name out there and I think with the other venues as well, the Big Top is really on the map now.
“We have done a lot of work in the venue in the last year as well - a new PA, and we upgraded everything so it is the perfect year for it. And last year was the 20th year, so it is special.
Dolan’s marked the 20th birthday with a concert with The Waterboys in the Big Top in December and this week announced shows for the Milk Market for May with Nathan Carter and Hudson Taylor.
The venue won a special commendation at the IMRO Awards last year, but Mick said the national award was “the big one”.
Sinead Hope, manager of the UCH, said the venue was “delighted to be part of Limerick’s great success at this year’s IMRO awards”.
“It is the first time UCH has won and it’s great that it is in recognition of 2014, when we were so busy with City of Culture events such as Van Morrison and Limerick’s Dream Will Do,” she said.
“People associate UCH with a lot of different art forms – for some people we are the go to place for Orchestral music or Opera, for others UCH means big name, stand-up comedy or family time at the Panto, but every year there is a strong backbone of live music to the UCH programme and 2014 gave us some great nights,” she said.
“The award is also a lovely way to recognise the dedication of all the UCH staff who work so hard throughout the year.
We have just launched our Spring programme which is packed with great events including Declan O’Rourke, Elaine Paige, Tommy Fleming and Christy Moore so all in all, its been a great start to 2015,” said Sinead, adding her “sincere congratulations” to Dolan’s on a “great achievement and very well deserved”.