Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios: A hidden gem under your feet in Temple Bar

I nearly have to pinch myself when I’m talking to some people, to stop my mind drifting off, just because of who they are, and here they are, standing right in front of me.

Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios Employee
Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios in the 1980s. Credit:

Most people visiting the Temple Bar area, and indeed even some of the locals, are unaware of a treasure that is largely hidden from their everyday view.

This particular treasure is not gold or trinkets, unearthed from the soil of Dublin’s rich Viking heritage, but something a bit more recent, that was started in the 1980s.

This treasure is a pop and rock music-related wonder, which spans from 1984 right up to the present day.

Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios has been a vital and integral part of the Dublin and Irish music scene – helping bands, solo acts, and performers hone their craft and talents into the exciting and awe-inspiring performances, that many have seen onstage all over the country, and beyond.

It is located on Curved Street, in the basement of the Button Factory music venue.

Aiden Walsh ‘The Master of the Universe’ (Right) with Charles Haughey (Left). Credit:

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the rehearsal studio rooms were located throughout the entire building.

Eventually the studios were solely in the seven rooms in the basement area to make way for recording studios on the top floor and a live gig venue on the ground floor – while the first floor became the home of The Opera Theatre Company for many years.

According to Thom’s Directory, the building was run by Thomas Salt & Co. for East India Pale Ale in the mid-nineteenth century.

The rehearsal studios were initially the brainchild of Aiden Walsh, a character and eccentric minor celebrity, who called himself ‘The Master of the Universe’.

The studios were then taken over and run by Paddy Dunning, and soon after, Billy Doheny joined him in setting up the business.

Not all bands and performers that rehearsed there over the years became famous household names, of course, but lots of people will be aware of the many that did.

The Corrs. Credit:

Bands like The Script, Ham Sandwich, Van Morrison, Donal Lunny, The Corrs, An Emotional Fish, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan, The Coronas, Whipping Boy, Kíla, and The Frames, have all been there.

International stars that have used the rehearsal space have included: Jimmy Chamberlain of the Smashing Pumpkins, Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, Brian Downey of Thin Lizzy, and Phil Collen of the 1980s/90s heavy hitters Def Leppard.

If this isn’t enough for you, the rehearsal facility has a small U2 memento display room, and also has the dubious honour of having Michael Jackson’s pyjamas on show in a picture frame.

Speaking to a Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios employee about the history of the place, they said, “It’s surprising, the well-known people you see and meet rehearsing here, and passing through.

“I‘ve been working for a good few years here, and sometimes I nearly have to pinch myself when I’m talking to some people, to stop my mind drifting off, just because of who they are, and here they are, standing right in front of me,” they added.

“As well as this I have seen a good few bands and performers coming in here, and starting up, and then later on you see in the music papers that their band is taking off, and doing really well. It gives me a good feeling that I have helped some of these people, to a small degree, to get up the ladder, and be successful in the music business,” they said.

Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols (right). Credit:

“Another thing is, that sometimes a rehearsal room, or two, can be used for an extra backstage area for bands that play in the Button Factory venue upstairs. Sometimes the rooms are used by the support bands, and sometimes they are used by members of the headlining bands that need their own space, before their gig. The odd time you’ll see the stars wandering around the corridors, or walking past the reception desk, nipping out for some fresh air, or to get something in the shops,” they continued.

Paddy Dunning. Credit:

Speaking to a regular client of the studios, Paul, The Liberty asked him if he was aware of any of the well-known people and acts that have been there.

“It’s funny that you asked me that. I was just talking to a friend earlier and saying to her that I passed Brendan Gleeson sitting down, in the corridor one day, a good few years ago. He was with a few other actors, and his son, Domhnall might have been there also,” he said.

“Another time I saw Louis Walsh. I saw him a few times actually. I think he was doing auditions for singers for a boyband that he was getting together. This was after Westlife broke up. The place was stuffed with potential wanna-bees for hours, over a couple of weeks, with the queues going up the stairs, out the door, around the corner, down Eustace Street, and all the way to the Quays. Crazy buzz in the air,” Paul added.

Brian Downey of Thin Lizzy (left). Credit:

Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios is indeed a hidden gem in Temple Bar. It’s not quite Hollywood, but it nonetheless was and still is, an important hub for some of the best-known musicians, actors, and performers in Dublin, Ireland, and beyond, and for that reason alone it should be saluted and commended.

Long may it continue to exist, and thrive, for many years to come.

You can check out Temple Lane Rehearsal Studios’ website here.

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