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How to Plan an Outdoor Event in Dublin

View of Mellows Bridge in Dublin - Ireland

Where should I start?

Located on the east coast of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is a small but lively capital city. Full of traditional Irish pubs, Dublin offers a small-town feel full of life, live music, beautiful coast lines, and rich with history. With streets lined with Irish flags and colourful buildings, and the River Liffey running through the heart of the city, it is certainly a perfect location to host a range of outdoor events, even despite the unpredictable weather. 

Dublin is home to the Guinness Storehouse, the birthplace of Ireland’s most popular stout, Dublin Castle, Dublin Zoo, and Trinity College University, and Christ Church Cathedral, founded in 1030. Being on the coast, popular beaches include Sandymount Beach, Seapoint Beach, and the small island of Howth, a thirty minute train ride outside of the city. 

Dublin is home to a plethora of open parks and spaces, including the Royal Botanical Gardens and North Bull Island on the coast. Phoenix Park, one of the largest parks inside any European capital city, is host to a range of outdoor events, including guided tours, Biodiversity Festival and art exhibitions, as well as fun runs and charity sporting events. Just south of the city, Marlay Park offers 86 hectares of open green space, and is host to Ireland’s largest music festival, Longitude, as well as smaller scale music, arts, and sports events throughout the year.

Where an outdoor public event will have more than 5,000 in attendance, the organiser is required to obtain an outdoor events licence from the local authority. If you wish to hold an outdoor event in Dublin city, you must obtain a license from Dublin City Council.

With a culture expressed through live music and takes on traditional Irish folk, outdoor music events are a hugely popular attraction in Ireland’s Capital. From admiring buskers down St Stephen’s Green Park, Grafton Street, to outdoor festivals and shows in Marlay Park, the music scene in Dublin is spectacular. Event planners can take comfort in the fact that the popularity of the Dublin outdoor music scene is ever growing.

The Forbidden Fruit in early June, is an inaugural music festival, held in the incredible grounds of the Irish Museum Of Modern Art at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

Host to a range of performers from BICEP, to Lorde, to Tom Misch, Forbidden Fruit celebrated its 10 year anniversary in 2022. Artists such as Duran Duran, Kodaline, and The Killers also played open-air gigs in Dublin in the summer, seeing St Anne’s Park and Malahide Castle come alive with cheers and music into the night.

1. Getting around Dublin

Though the capital city, Dublin is small enough to get around on foot, with the majority of attractions and heart of the city reachable within a twenty minute walk. Owing to its flat landscape, biking is increasingly a popular mode of transport, and the City of Dublin encourages visitors and locals to travel on two wheels where possible. The city has over 200 kilometres of specific on- and off-road tracks for cyclists, making it the perfect method of transport for event goers.

DublinBikes is a cycle sharing program with stands throughout the city where you can unlock and rent a bike to drop off at any other station, purchasing either a three-day pass or an annual card. Open from 5am to 12:30am daily, it is the perfect mode of transport for reducing the carbon footprint of your events, whilst encouraging event goers to see the city. Top cycle routes around Dublin include Tolka Valley Greenway, The Metals, and Liffey Greenway, which takes cyclists along the banks of the river. Because of this, accommodating Bike parking or locking areas around your event site is an essential planning consideration. You can manage this in OnePlan using the parking and areas tools. 

Users should also take use of our specific cycling and walking routes plotting tools; even if your event is stationary, providing cycle routes and expected time will benefit you, as event planners, event attendees and local transport authorities.

In the Studio, we have options for both satellite and maps so you can visualise your event but also look at the roads around. Plan your marquees on the grass and then your travel on the street view, planning couldn’t be easier! On top of this, we also have a Black and White and an OS map option.

The array of open gardens and parks are prime locations for hosting outdoor events, especially open-air gigs. These public recreation areas are open to the public yearly but will require grounds permits to host specific events. Popular locations include Parc Flora which hosts a variety of open-air music festivals musically in the summer months, and Parc Bagatelle – la Roseraie, located just outside the centre of Paris, with views of the Eiffel Tower. 

Public bandstands are also prime locations to host a small music performance or event. With 34 still remaining throughout the city, you can find them in almost every arrondissement, both in popular parks such as the Buttes Chaumont, or the Eiffel Tower’s gardens: the Champ the Mars and in lesser known areas of the city. A handful of them commonly host free entry music and performance events. You can see these clearly on OnePlan’s accurate mapping system!

2. Sustainability in Irish Events

Globally, delivering sustainable and green events is becoming an ever-increasing necessity for event planners, particularly those using outdoor spaces and venues. Major considerations include electricity management, waste and recycling, and transportation. Dublin’s relatively small size, comparatively to other cities, means event goers to-and-from events and venues is likely to significantly reduce the footprint of any event. The National Sustainability Summit held in Dublin in May 2022 highlighted areas where businesses, planners and other companies across the commercial sector can reduce ecological footprints. In addressing optimising water use, renewable energy, sustainable packaging and waste management, the summit reflects Ireland’s recognition of the way forward for industry sectors, including the events industry.

Measure your crowd area using our Crowd Management tools! Select how many people per metre squared you want in your crowd and watch it calculate your capacity- so you can see exactly how many people you can have on your dance floor 🙂

Our routes and flow tools are useful for calculating the predicted time and distance between locations, and have proven particularly useful to clients planning street events or street markets, enabling a one-way flow system to be accurately planned for.

3. Permissions

With any event comes the need for accurate and meticulous planning; for venue usage, road closures, noise pollution and health and safety. Ahead of hosting your outdoor event, event planners who are hosting events for 5000+ attendees, ››must submit both a preliminary risk assessment, and have a pre-application consultation meeting with Dublin city council prior to being granted an event licence. This should be held 12 months prior to the date of the event, and is a necessary prerequisite for applying for an event permit. More information on the licensing process can be found here.

Planning an outdoor event in Dublin is not cheap, with an application fee of €2,500. Following the pre-application meeting, event applicants must supply:

  • Dates and duration of the event 
  • A Written consent from land and venue owners 
  • Anticipated attendance
  • A Statement of compliance from a local authority
  • A draft event management plan which included drawings, maps, and site plans 

Local authorities will decide their approval of the event at least four weeks prior. OnePlan’s simple event planning tools will significantly streamline your event application and planning process. Our real-time collaborative platform not only means you can deliver accurate event and site plans to scale to support your application; our share feature enables local authorities and land and venue owners to have access to your event site plan. Further, using OnePlan’s entrance and exit tools can significantly improve you crowd management, meaning you can not only provide expected attendance, but accurately plan for the movement of persons to and from the venue at any given time.

“I had almost every single element of our map on the OnePlan platform within two days. It was amazing.”

soul fest

Renna Muhieddin


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