50th anniversary of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan’s first Dublin concert

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Dylan at the AdelphiOn the 5th day of May 1966 Bob Dylan played his first concert in Ireland at the Adelphi Cinema on Abbey Street, Dublin. The Adelphi was then the primary venue for concerts in Dublin and had already held concerts by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

The previous summer Dylan had outraged some of the folk music movement, who had provided his earliest audience, when he appeared at the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965 with an electric backing band. He subsequently toured the United States backed by The Hawks (later re-named The Band) and released Highway 61 Revisited, his first all electric album.

Adelphi CinemaIn April 1966 he played concerts in Australia, then began a European tour in Stockholm on April 29th.

Image: Adelphi Cinema, Abbey Street. Image, Dublin City Council Photographic Collection (click image to enlarge)

As happened throughout that tour the Dublin concert provoked both excitement and controversy. The show was in two sections with Dylan first playing a solo acoustic set of songs before being joined by The Hawks for the second part of the concert. It was reported that sections of the audience booed and slow hand-clapped the electric material.

Following the concert Dylan travelled to Belfast where he played at the ABC Theatre on May 6th. He did not play a concert in Ireland again until 1984 when he headlined a show at Slane Castle, Co. Meath on July 8th. Since then he has been a regular visitor, playing concerts in a variety of venues throughout the country.

Bob Dylan has often expressed his indebtedness to Irish music, especially the Irish ballad tradition which was a strong influence on him in the early part of his career. He particularly admired The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, whom he frequently saw in the folk clubs of Greenwich Village, New York.

The recent award of the Nobel Prize for literature places him beside Irish writers W. B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney – and G. B. Shaw, with whom he shares the distinction of having won both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize.


Images: Ad from 1916 commemorations brochure; Review from the Irish Times, 6 May 1966; Ad from Evening Press, 4 May (Click to enlarge)

Ad for Dylan at the Adelphi

Irish Times Review 6 May 1966  | Ad for Dylan at the Adelphia in the Evening Press, 4 May 1966

Further Resources

Dublin City Public Libraries has a wide range of sources on the social, political, and cultural history of Dublin, some of which are available online and some through the Dublin City Public Libraries network.
Newspapers can be consulted in the Reading Room in hardcopy volumes, on microfilm and online. The national daily newspapers are held in the collection, with some papers dating back to the 18th century.

The following online resources can be accessed free of charge at your local library (access links via our NetVibes portal). Ask library staff for information and assistance.

Irish Times Digital Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Times from the mid-nineteenth century until the present.

Irish Newspaper Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Independent and a range of other newspapers.

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