Famous gigs at Dalymount Park

Originally featured on Totally Dublin and reproduced with permission

Dalymount Park has been the home of Bohemian FC since 1901 and we have played at the ground for every season since, 132 years in a row. On the pitch many of the world’s greatest players have played, including Pele, Zidane, Best and Van Basten.

The famous stadium has also hosted many concerts, in particular in the late 70s and 80s when it held Dublin’s first major outdoor concerts beneath our famous floodlights. Years before Croke Park, Marlay Park or the Phoenix Park, Dalymount was the only major venue hosting outdoor concerts. The majority of these events were organised and promoted by legendary promoter Pat Egan.

It all started in 1977 when The Beach Boys, Dr. Feelgood and John Peel were set to play on the August Bank Holiday Monday. But with just two weeks to go, the gig was cancelled, with promoter Pat Murphy focusing on his other Dalymount project: Thin Lizzy headlining “Dublin’s First Major Open Air Rock Festival” on August 21.

The line-up included two upcoming new wave Dublin bands, The Boomtown Rats and The Radiators from Space. Bob Geldof, of course, relished the opportunity and his energetic stage performance made an impact. (The Rats made their Top of the Pops debut the following Thursday.) It was Thin Lizzy that the crowd was there for. And Phil Lynott, who just turned 28 the day before, delivered. Spotted among the crowd of 11,000 was a man who still occasionally visits Dalymount for Bohs games today, President of Ireland Michael D Higgins. Aged 36 and not yet in the Dáil, I wonder was our president on the guest list? Did he buy his £4 ticket in advance, or pay his £4.75 cash at the gate?

In July 1980, Bob Marley and the Wailers played a two-hour set in front of around 10,000, and its success led to Pat Egan promoting more Dalymount gigs in the 1980s. In 1981 he booked the Specials and the Beat, but just two weeks before the gig and with Ghost Town top of the charts, the Specials cancelled. Their management blamed the “unsettled security situation” in Ireland but the reality was the Specials themselves were unsettled and the group split a few weeks later.

The strangest mix of acts gathered in June 1982 when MC Marty Whelan introduced Meatloaf, Shakatak and John Cooper Clarke. But the following year in August 1983, it was all Heavy Metal. About 5,000 people, most clad in leather and denim, attended the Garden Party festival. Amp volume was turned up to eleven as Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Twisted Sister and Mama’s Boys drowned Dublin 7 in a wall of sound.

Ten years later and MCD promotions took their alternative grungy Sunstroke festival to Dalymount in June of 1993. Faith No More headlined a cast of mainly American alternative bands. MCD ran Sunstroke again in 1994 with 15,000 people attending. The Red Hot Chilli Peppers headlined, which means they are the last group to have played at a Dalymount festival. It could have been Destiny’s Child though. They were due to headline the Jam in the Park festival in June 2001, but this was cancelled because of crowd safety concerns less than two weeks before the show.

Website by Simon Alcock