Hard Working Class Heroes
1 – 3 October, 2015
Various venues in Dublin city
Music festivals like Hard Working Class Heroes are perfect for people who want to jam a few months worth of gigs into one weekend without camping out in a field and spending a fortune on the basic elements of survival. Unfortunately, it also highlights how few totally accessible music venues we have in town. Out of the seven venues, I would only consider three to be totally wheelchair accessible and by that I mean they either have a lift or are on flat ground and have a wheelchair bathroom within the same building.
UPDATE: Angela from HWCH got in contact with me and people with limited mobility can purchase tickets at a reduced rate. Weekend tickets have been reduced from €45 to €25 and individual nightly tickets have been reduced from €20 to €10. They are available to buy from the box office at the Green Party Pop Up Shop at 90 South Georges Street, Dublin 2.
I could bang on and on about crap access in Irish music venues today but that’s a bigger fish to fry for another day (coming soon!) but it’s great to see that HWCH and Angela acknowledge what is and isn’t available. It’s incredibly important for venues and promoters to outline what’s available so the customer can make up their own mind about access.
Anyway, here’s an overview of the access of the seven HWCH venues.
The Academy Main Room
57 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
There is a lift to all floors and the staff will bring you up to the first floor or to the balcony on the second floor. You will have a guaranteed good view from the balcony but you will also have a decent view if you go by the railings on the first floor. There is a wheelchair bathroom on the first floor and a bar on both floors.
The Academy Green Room
57 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
The Green Room is on the ground level and it’s all flat there. They also have a wheelchair bathroom on this floor.
The Grand Social
35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1
The Grand Social’s music venue is upstairs and they have no lift. However, the staff are super sound here and are generally ok with helping you get upstairs by lifting you and the chair. They have a wheelchair bathroom on the ground floor but the toilets upstairs at the music venue are not wheelchair accessible.
The Workman’s Club
10 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2
The bouncers in The Workman’s are hands down my favourite bouncers in Dublin. They’re incredibly helpful they know that when it comes to access, their venue is a bit of a pain in the arse. The main venue is on the ground level but it’s a tight squeeze for a wheelchair and there’s no great spot to actually view the gig, unless you can trudge your way to the very front. They have no wheelchair bathroom within the venue and the other bathrooms are down a flight of steep stairs. There is a a four star wheelchair bathroom next door in The Clarence Hotel which you can use. I also love the doorman of The Clarence a lot. So, the staff here make up for the fact that it’s not actually accessible but there is the crush of the crowd to contend with.
28 Dame Street, Dublin 2
The music venue in the Mercantile is on the ground floor and a couple of the entrances have a couple of steps in but there is a flat entrance on Dame Street and around the back. However, their wheelchair bathroom is next door in the hotel. So you have to go outside and into the reception of the hotel and get the lift up to the first floor, which connects to the Mercantile bar again. The Mercantile gets very busy at the weekends so you will have crowds to get through as you make your way out of the venue to the hotel and back in to the venue to the accessible bathroom. The facilities are available but it’s not what I consider accessible.
East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
This one took me by surprise too. Even though it’s in the cobblestoned hellhole that is Temple Bar, this venue is wheelchair accessible. The entrance is flat and they have a lift to bring you to the other floors. The wheelchair bathroom is on the first floor and the lift brings you right to it. The staff are great here and will show you to the lift.
Andrews Lane, Dublin 2
The front entrance has three steep steps but the bouncers have always been very helpful with lifting me in and out here. Inside, there is one step up to the venue space. They have recently added a wheelchair bathroom but I haven’t been there since it’s been there so can’t offer any more info there!