The Irish dance music scene can be a cold and unforgiving place for promoters, dancers, and DJs; trying to carve out something different and imaginary is difficult in this often restrictive space for artists and free-thinkers. Although the laws that govern our creative spaces may lay down an iron fist that tries to actually stamp out individuality, some parties are carving out their own radically unique spaces and breaking the mould in 2024.

Restrictive licencing rules, growing living costs, the failure to abolish SEOs, and a scarcity of late-night venues are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges that Irish promoters, creatives, and artists are confronted with. This constant strain and chokehold on Irish creatives is causing many to jump ship and emigrate, bringing their abilities with them, possibly to a location where they will be acknowledged and nurtured.

For those who stay, it may appear to be a sinking ship, yet certain outliers in the Irish scene are carving out spaces for independence and freedom of expression. In these times, artists and scenes must collaborate to offer a space for talent to thrive and for escapism to be valued.

We spotlight eight Irish parties that are being radically themselves and producing something new and fresh in the middle of this difficult moment for creatives.


Soundmate31 has been hosting parties in Dublin and Barcelona, bringing their distinct Mediterranean spin on house music to both Ireland and Spain. Soundmate31 takes pride in hosting parties in new and unusual locations, transforming often derelict spaces into carnival-inspired refuges for the deeper and lusher side of house music. The party, which frequently hosts some of Ireland’s top house selectors such as Slim, Niz, Ryan Hayden, and others, has become known for championing the minimal side of house in a festival-style setting.


Cork-based party, Kriptik, has been at the forefront of the city’s thriving techno scene for the past year. The party alternates between club showcases in their hometown of Cork, raves just outside the city, and their Dublin debut with Rene Wise at Dublin’s Cellar. The party will host its second festival in June, headlined by none other than Sunil Sharpe. The party’s attitude and ideals remain intact as they promote pure and honest techno in safe and authentic places, which is critical to what they do. Cork has a strong community of skilled DJs and producers, but with few opportunities to display their work, Kriptik is taking matters into their own hands.


NSFW has been hosting some of Dublin’s best queer parties since January 2022. The relatively new name in Dublin’s queer dance music scene has taken pride in creating a safe space for dancers, transforming The Grand Social into a queer-centric playground with a Panoroma-bar style approach to music selection, often housey with hints of trance and 90s euphoria. NSFW, which stands for Not Suitable For Work, is a play on the expressive and extravagant attire that NSFW guests frequently wear. The party’s cult following recognises it as an oasis for the queer community, a new space to dance in complete freedom.


HARDWARE, Limerick’s newest party, does exactly what it says on the tin: it brings a selection of live and improvised acts to The Belltable Theatre, allowing performers to showcase their uncompromising style in a specialised club environment. Run by Chaz Moloney and Brawni, the club night draws inspiration from the similar improved values of Speedy J’s Amsterdam party stoorlab, as HARDWARE invites performers to jam in front of an audience alongside their awe-inspiring lighting rig. On June 8th, they’ll be collaborating with the mighty Tresor and Offtrack’s label Circuit Structure Records.

Reclaim The Mainframe

Dublin’s Reclaim The Mainframe monthly parties have become legendary in the city, with the party’s unique take on traditional but somewhat rebellious Dublin Sunday parties sweeping the capital. RTM has taken over dormant industrial backdrops, restaurant garden parties, canal barges, and much more. Their strict DJ selection policy ensures that the music quality never suffers, welcoming Irish heroes as well as some of the country’s best DJs, including TR-One, Marion Hawkes, Space Dimension Controller, and DJ Optik, to name a few. Their new Eastpoint location is quickly becoming Dublin’s best new dance space, as Reclaim The Mainframe blurs the lines between festival and club spaces.

Ar Ais Arís

Ar Ais Aríss Instagram bio reads “Big Soundsystems. Big energy. Small safe spaces,” which pretty much sums up one of Galway’s most consistent and daring parties. The party, run by bass fans Alannah, Hannah, Robin, and Rob, has provided a much-needed injection of low-frequency funk events to Galway’s otherwise forgotten weekend party scene. The crew has invited some of the club scene’s most forward-thinking and promising breaks and electro-tinged artists, such as Imogen and Denham Audio, as well as homegrown heroes Sloucho, Eliza, R.Kitt, and others. Jonezy’s RiseUp soundsystem powers their parties, and the calibre of their DJs matches it.

Crilli DnB Belfast

Belfast party, Crilli, has been a vital component of the city’s diversified dance music environment, providing high-quality drum & bass to the city, frequently exposing young people to the sound and establishing themselves as the vanguards of the culture in the north. They had their first event at The Windsor Nightclub in Bangor. Since then, the team has welcomed Goldie, Coco Bryce, Calibre, Dbridge, and several others. The party has become a Belfast dance music institution, carving out a niche for drum and bass in a city that has traditionally been dominated by techno. Although the party has definitely established itself as a local mainstay, it does not rest on its laurels and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, presenting events in unique settings and combining more cultural activities with club events.


HONEYPOT, a Dublin-based queer party, has become one of the most consistently imaginative settings for ‘gay girls and friends’. The party is actively creating a space for individuals on the fringes of Dublin’s nightlife industry, embracing the sounds, aesthetics, and freedom associated with female, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ DJs and dancers. The party’s music policy is relaxed, allowing for a free-flowing and nonchalant atmosphere, a kind of rebellion and a departure from the stringent restrictions that control many queer club nights in Berlin and abroad. The party’s premise and objective are simple: creators Rhyzine and Baby Tee want to diversify Dublin dancefloors and establish a unique environment in their home of Tengu.

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