Christopher Brady operated a licensed premises on what Wexford Street was then still popularly known as Kevin’s Port. The premises changed hands many times throughout history.
Wexford Street is Born
As the premises gets passed on to the Gorman family, Kevin's Port is renamed to the now famous Wexford Street. Patrick Gorman Junior takes over number 25 Wexford Street operating a pub from the premises while his family ran a grocers and let apartments from the neighbouring buildings.
A Pub of Many Owners
From Brendan Brady, a famous Dublin publican in the 1850s, to William Daly, in the 1800s the 25 Wexford Street Property changed many hands. It was in 1872 that it was bought for £920 by a Daniel Tallon. Namechecked in James Joyce's Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, Tallon was a larger than life character and prominent figure in Irish society. He owned a tailors, a pub on George's street and was a respected politician having served the longest term in History as Lord Mayor.
'Then,lo and behold, they blossom out as Adam Findlaters or Dan Tallons. Then think of the competition. General thirst. Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub.'
A New Pub Is Born
A key figure in the Irish Nationalist movement, Tallon eventually sells 25 Wexford Street to focus on his political career. The property passes again through several hands including Peter Gilligan, Richard O'Carroll and Stephen Bourke. Gilligan ran a very successful pub, even selling his own brand of 'Gilligan's Whiskey' from the premises. After his passing, it was Bourke who ran the pub for decades there following, now being commemorated in the 'Bourke's Bar' next door.
Gary Whelan and Ian Keith purchased the property and made inroads into making Whelan’s the music venue it is today. While renovating, they stripped synthetic tiles, plasters and worktops that were added in the middle of the century in an act of modernisation, and uncovered the original wooden and stone surfaces. Determined to make it a staple for Irish music, they began to build a venue and team that could secure some of the best up and coming artists played their stage.
The now iconic Jeff Buckley plays Whelan's on the tour of his new album, Grace.
On the 11th of August 1995, a local Irish band fronted by Glen Hansard took the stage at Whelan's and played their hit single 'Revelate', twice.
On tour for their ninth studio album 'Murder Ballads', Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play an unforgettable show in the Whelan's main room.
Whelan's joins The Mercantile Group
In the late 1990s, Whelan's comes under the ownership of the hospitality group, The Mercantile Group. With a clear vision in mind, Whelan's was nurtured under the Group, where it developed multiple stages, an outdoor smoking area and dedicated team. Whelan's became synonymous with live music in Dublin, as hundreds of pictures of famous faces began to fill the walls, who graced its infamous stages.
A Night That Launced Sheeran
It was a Saturday afternoon in Whelan's in September 2004, that a 13-year-old Ed Sheeran claims sparked his 'musical epiphany'. As Irish legend Damien Rice takes the stage, Sheeran says he knew then he had to be a musician.
Bloc Party & Arctic Monkeys
Two up and coming indie-rockers on the rush of post-garage trends, play the Whelan's main room to 450 people. Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys debut in Dublin to sold-out crowds and both go on to huge mainstream success.
Bigger and Better
A renovation project to expand the capacity of Whelan’s front bar, as well as to install a number of new facilities on the second and third levels of the building begins in April 2007. Included in these new facilities was an additional smaller 120 capacity venue and bar known as Upstairs @ Whelan’s, the 3rd floor Palour Bar with it’s nostalgic retro vibe, covered smoking area and band dressing room.
Arcade Fire Surprise Show
Following the release of Everything Now and a string of sold-out shows in the massive 3Arena, Canadian rockers Arcade Fire surprise hundreds of fans in Whelan's on the 14th June. The group performed several tracks from their most recent and past albums acoustically.