The Thomas House rocks!

Here on Thomas Street, Dublin, only a hop, skip, and a jump from Christchurch Cathedral, lies a very exciting little rock’n’roll gem.

The Thomas House (Image courtesy of The Thomas House)

Dublin City, in the past, has never really had an abundance of rock music bars and venues.

There have been a few lasting places that have stuck with rock ’n’ roll over the years, like the underground Flanders section of Bruxelles pub, off Grafton Street; Fibber Magee’s on Parnell Street; The Grand Social on Liffey Street; The Workman’s Club on Wellington Quay; and of course Whelan’s, on Wexford Street.

The Thomas House logo (Image courtesy of The Thomas House)

While not as ‘long in the tooth’ as a rock ’n’ roll venue as some of these places, the Thomas House has easily, and effectively, established itself as one of the more vital and important rock pubs and venues in Dublin, all of this, while most rock pubs in Ireland have recently been ‘dropping like flies in winter.’

Some of the bands that they get playing here are surprising. You wouldn’t see them play anywhere else in Dublin.

– customer Steven Donnelly

Many international singers and bands have played here over the years.

These include acts such as Queens of the Stone Age, the Libertines, Jerry Dammers from the Specials, UK punk legends the Angelic Upstarts, American 1980s slapstick comedy punk band the Dickies (who charted in the UK top ten with their version of the Banana Splits theme song), Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom, and the late Sylvain Sylvain of the legendary punk rock godfathers, the New York Dolls.

As well as this, the pub has regular appearances from rock DJs from Ireland and abroad.

Kevin O’Kelly Jnr (Image courtesy of The Thomas House)

The walls of the pub are heavily festooned with classic and vintage posters, mainly from the rockabilly era, old vinyl singles and albums, Marvel, DC, and 2000ad comic posters and pages, and lots of rock’n’roll associated curiosities, knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, and also a must for all rock pubs… a fish tank.

The pub has also hosted competitions and get togethers for clubs and fans of classic video games, played on retro gaming consoles, on Sunday afternoons and evenings.

The beverages on sale here include old familiar Irish brands, but you’ll also find some surprisingly obscure imported brands, some of which sound very, very rude indeed.

Most of the bartenders here look and dress like the tunnel snake characters, and they just walked out of the Atom Cats Garage in the post-apocalyptic Fallout video game series.

The regular clientele here can very often include punks, rockabilly, psychobilly, Indie/alternative heads, metallers. skinheads, reggae lovers, mods, crusties, grungers, goths, emos, general weirdos, and also the shy unadventurous clothing peeps, who dress exactly like their parents.

The front bar (Image courtesy of The Thomas House)

This pub also benefits greatly from its very close proximity the Vicar Street venue, and many of their concert attendees often drop in, before and after the gigs there.

Not only do the Vicar Street punters drop in for a sherbert, and a rock’n’roll vibe infusion, but pretty often, a famous face or two can also be seen at the bar.

As well as the many various famous bands that play across the street, comedians Phil Jupitus, and Dara O Briain are regular drop-ins to the Thomas House when they are in town, also Morrissey (of The Smiths) has pulled pints there, and the proud Liberty belle songstress, Imelda May is said to be a patron, and frequent visitor.

Kevin O’Kelly Jnr runs the Thomas House with Gareth Cummins. They told that they grew up in Dublin, and used to frequent pubs and clubs such as Bruxelles, and the long defunct Rock Garden in Temple Bar, and McGonagle’s nightclub, near the Bruxelles bar.

Their ambition was to someday have, and run a place, and give others the feeling and excitement that the clubs of their youth had instilled in them, before the rave culture took hold.

Steven Donnelly, 52, from Inchicore is a regular visitor to the Thomas House. “It’s a great buzz, especially on the weekends,” he said. “Some of the bands that they get playing here are surprising. You wouldn’t see them play anywhere else in Dublin. The craic is always 90, and the DJs play great sounds. It’s only a short bus ride from where I live, so I’m usually here a lot. I don’t know what I’d do without these type of places. Born a rocker, die a rocker… and long may it last.”

A view from across the street (Image courtesy of The Thomas House)

Peter O’Gorman, 55, is another eager customer of the pub. When asked about the Thomas House he said: “Great excuse to get out of the house away from the missus. Only joking, she’s a keeper really. Make sure to keep that in, or I’m a dead man (laughs). No seriously, I really look forward to dropping down here as much as I can. I really love the live gigs. The Dickies were incredible. Great music, and really funny. The singer stopped the gig to complain about a woman in the audience grabbing his crotch. I don’t know if he was seriously upset, or he just wanted everyone to know (laughs). Either way, eventually the band played on, and did the rest of their set, Silent Night, The Sound of Silence, Paranoid, The Banana Splits, and they were incredible. Amazing to see so close up in such a small venue. Where else would you get it. Epic!”

Dublin, being the capital city of Ireland, is in the throes of massive rent increases. It is a puzzle and an enigma whether these colourful alternative and interesting places, which encourage and support music culture, will be able to financially survive, and continue to exist.

It is not long since the Bernard Shaw in Portobello closed its doors for the very last time, and has become yet another victim of the seemingly never-ending, building of dreary drab looking apartment block eyesores.

Thankfully, so far, The Thomas House is still here, and rocking out on 11 here on Thomas Street.

Drop in and experience it.

Hopefully it will survive for many, many years to come.

Catch it and savour it, while you still can…

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