The Night-Time Economy in Dublin: The Impacts of Touristification and the Growing Resistance to it

Dublin’s nightlife is undergoing significant change. There has been a notable and concerning decline in the amount of nightclubs, and as they close down they are not (for the most part) being replaced by other similar cultural spaces. The policymakers of Ireland have until very recently, displayed a lack of support for the issues facing the night-time economy, and a hesitance to develop strategies to ensure that night-time economy can exist in conjunction with the tourism industry, one of the major factors in the loss of cultural spaces. The tourism industry has been heavily relied on by national government for its huge economic contribution, and so Dublin has undergone changes to make it more suitable for tourists. This process is known as tourism gentrification, or touristification. Paradoxically, experiencing unique Irish night-time industry is a large objective of many international tourists, and so the lack of planning shows a short-sightedness of the city’s urban planners. A rising public resistance to these developments has been evident in recent years, as the city appears to display more concern for the experiences of its tourist visitors than the quality of life of its permanent inhabitants.

This thesis examines the effect of public pressure on the progression of new policies toward the night-time economy through interviews with key figures involved in the nightlife industry, theoretical reading, and archival research. The research reveals that in recent years the more active approach taken by the public has resulted in the national government being pressured to address the outdated policies and change the laissez-faire approach previously taken toward the night-time economy. Increased accountability has been put on the various stakeholders and there are detailed objectives now in place. This thesis argues that is largely due to the efforts of lobbyists and increased online and in-person protests.


Figure 1: Dublin is Dying Save the Cobblestone banner, Dublin is Dying (press release), 2021

Figure 2: Aidan Crawley, Queue into Copper Face Jacks, The Irish Times, 2020

Figure 3: Dara Mac Dónaill, Protestors march to Dublin City Council in Protest, The Irish Times, 2021