Laois has two nominees in the IMRO Music venue awards

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan

Laois has two nominees in the IMRO Music venue awards

Two Laois venues shortlisted for IMRO awards

Laois has two top music venues nominated in the IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards 2019.

The county continues to punch above its weight for top musical venues.

The Electric Picnic festival and Kavanagh's Bar & Venue Portlaoise both have received nominations. (scroll down for full list).

Last February Kavanagh's was shortlisted for the Hot Press Live Music Venue of the Year at the IMRO Live Music Awards. In 2018 they won the Regional Innovative Pub of the Year at the Irish Pub awards.

Above: Padraig McGann, President, VFI with Niamh and PJ Kavanagh, Kavanaghs Bar and Venue.

Irish Music Rights Organisation CLG (IMRO) will hold the awards on Tuesday February 11 at a new venue of Twenty Two, South Anne Street in Dublin.

The annual awards, now in their twelfth year, celebrate the venues and individuals working in the live music industry, whose passion and determination brings the joy and inimitable experience of live music to the public across Ireland. 

More than 13,000 IMRO members were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite venues of 2019 for inclusion on the awards shortlist. Venues were judged on atmosphere, sound and lighting, staging, diversity of programming, the staff and management of each venue and accessibility for people with disabilities, all of which are essential foundations for a truly remarkable live music venue. IMRO members also voted on Ireland’s music festivals, tech crews and for the IMRO Outstanding Contribution to Live Music, the receiver of which shall be announced on the night of the Awards.

Music venues and festivals play a vital role in the music industry in Ireland, giving international and homegrown artists of all levels a platform to engage with existing fans and build new audiences. They also play a central role in urban and rural communities across the country, providing a social gathering space for a multitude of audience types, and contributing hugely to the domestic economy.

Victor Finn is IMRO Chief Executive.

“The important role that venues and festivals make nationally is all too often overlooked. They provide an essential platform and support network for Irish and international artists and bands of all levels, in addition to their vital contribution to communities both economically and socially. The IMRO Live Music Venue Awards have grown from their inception to become one of the most anticipated dates in the Irish music industry calendar. The awards are an opportunity to acknowledge venues big and small across the country and to celebrate the individuals whose hard work and commitment help our vibrant and eclectic music industry to flourish.”

Awards will be presented to live music venues in each of the following regions: Dublin, Leinster (excluding Dublin), Connacht, Munster and Ulster (Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan). The IMRO Music Festival of the Year, IMRO Small Music Festival of the Year, IMRO Tech Crew of the Year Award and a special Outstanding Contribution to Live Music Award will also be presented. Performances on the night will come from emerging acts Soda Blonde, Alex Gough and ELM.

One overall award will be presented to the IMRO National Live Music Venue of the Year. This award is decided upon by the public, who vote for their live music venue of the year from the combined shortlist of all the regions.

Live music fans should simply log on to www.surveymonkey. com/r/imrovenueawards and choose their favourite from the shortlist provided, by 5pm on February 7. Voters will by entered into a draw to be in with a chance to win an iPad.

The ceremony will also see the presentation of the award for Hot Press Live Music Venue of the Year via The Readers Poll which is contributed to by Hot Press fans and can be viewed at

Niall Stokes is editor of Hot Press. 

“Irish music is going through a real purple patch at the moment, with brilliant new artists emerging across every genre – and a lot of them are making a serious impact internationally. They deserve to. We are producing some truly great music here at the moment.

"This extraordinary surge of creativity in Irish music would not be possible without great live venues. They give artists and bands a vital platform, especially at the start of their careers. A healthy live music scene is at the very heart of things – and music is flourishing all over Ireland. 

"That’s why the IMRO Live Music Venues Awards are so important. It matters a lot to us, here at Hot Press, to lend our support to the awards – and to do everything we can to promote live music in Ireland. We want Irish artists to experience recognition and success like never before during the year ahead. I firmly believe that 2020 is going to be a great one."



Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin 2

Vicar Street, Dublin 8
Arthur’s Blues and Jazz Club, Dublin 8
The Old Storehouse, Dublin 2
The Underground, Dublin 2

Rest of Leinster

The Royal Meath Bar, Navan, Co Meath
Kavanagh's Bar & Venue, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
The Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co. Louth
The Set Theatre, Kilkenny



Iontas Theatre, Castleblayney Co. Monaghan
An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
McGinley’s Bar, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
The Chasin’ Bull, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co Donegal



Coughlan's Bar & Live Music Venue, Cork
Mike the Pies, Listowel, Co. Kerry
De Barra's Folk Club, Clonakilty, Co. Cork
Connolly’s of Leap, Co. Cork
Crane Lane Theatre, Cork



Matt Molloy's, Westport, Co. Mayo
The Quays Bar, Galway
JJ Harlow’s Bar, Roscommon
Anderson’s Live, Sligo
Róisín Dubh, Galway

IMRO Music Festival of the Year 2019

All Together Now
Body & Soul
Electric Picnic
Féile '19
Galway International Arts Festival
Forbidden Fruit
Sea Sessions
Live @ The Iveagh Gardens
Sligo Live


IMRO Small Music Festival of the Year 2019

Clonakility International Guitar Festival
It Takes A Village
Claremorris Folk Festival
K-Fest Arts Festival
Another Love Story
The Acoustic Yard Festival
Sounds from a Safe Harbour
Ireland Music Week
Kilkenny Tradfest
Doolin Folk Festival


IMRO Tech Crew of the Year 2019

Coughlan's Live Bar and Music Venue
Axis Arts Centre and Theatre
Sea Sessions
Other Voices
Live at St. Luke's
The Sugar Club
Olympia Theatre
The Academy