- 29 Apr 21
As part of our special feature on the impact of Covid-19 on the Irish music industry, Neil Dolan of Dolan's in Limerick shares his experiences, and looks to the future. Pictured above: Neil’s father and founder of Dolan’s, Mick Dolan, with Brendan Griffin of IMRO.
How has the impact of Covid-19 affected you and your business?
Covid-19 has had an enormous effect. We have not been able to operate. We have been closed for most of 2020 and all of 2021. We are concerned for our staff and we are anxious to get back to operations when it is safe to do so.
What is the worst aspect of it all for you?
Not being able to open and function as a business. There’s the financial loss but we miss our staff, crew, musicians and customers. It’s the people that make a place!
Did you have to let staff go?
Yes, that was really hard.
People with high rent or with large borrowings have been worst hit. How have you been?
The bills still keep coming in! We’ve received government grants which has been very helpful in keeping us afloat.
Some people have been finding it hard to survive. Is that something you’ve encountered?
We’re lucky in that we are a family business and we’re sticking together and planning ahead.
Music is a people business – how has the loss of contact with staff, colleagues or with others in the business affected you?
We keep in touch with our staff regularly and are still on social media platforms. We miss people.
Were you in a position to try anything new or different?
We had the opportunity to do a select few socially distanced shows and thanks to some government funding, we were able to present a series of streamed gigs. As a result, we had our crew back to work and music in the venue.
Mental health has been a huge issue for a lot of people involved in music. How has your experience been in that regard?
This has had a toll on all our mental health.
How important is it to you to get back to work?
We cannot wait to get back to work!
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
We’re optimistic of course! We can’t wait to get back doing what we do and what we love – live music.
• Neil Dolan runs Dolan’s, a live music venue in Limerick, along with his father Mick.
'Music Industry in Ireland: Where To Next?' is a special feature in the current issue of Hot Press, running to over 20 pages, featuring music industry professionals as well as artists including Moya Brennan, Jess Kav, Luka Bloom, Fia Moon, Kneecap, Gavin Glass, Mick Flannery, King Kong Company, Mary Coughlan, Rosie Carney and many more.