The father and son duo behind a new €12m music campus in Dublin say it offers new ways for people at home and abroad to actively engage in Irish music and culture.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin is today officially opening the first two phases of the state-of-the-art new Irish Institute of Music and Song (IIMS) campus in Balbriggan.
The campus includes a music school, ten luxury boutique hotel rooms, shored accommodation for students and café and restaurant.
The next phase, due to be complete in Spring 2023, will include a brand-new 400-seater concert hall.
A warm welcome to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin to the IIMS. pic.twitter.com/TzspyQQOCt
— Irish Institute of Music and Song (@IIMusicSong) January 14, 2022
The institute has been founded by Michael T. Dawson, the man behind One4All gift cards, and his son, conductor and music educator, Michael P. Dawson.
On Breakfast Business this morning, Michael P. said the idea has been percolating since 2013, when he established the Fingal Academy of Music.
“There were international groups coming over from the US and Europe and when they visited Ireland, they were looking for places to perform and they were looking at places to stay,” he said.
“They were also looking to find ways to actively engage in Irish music and Irish culture.
“We would get a lot of contracts with various groups that would come over we would do various programmes for them – educational things and workshops.
“We realised then that there really is nowhere for these groups, ensembles and orchestras to go when they come to Ireland.
“So, we figured, what if we would put all of their needs in one place? That is the Irish Institute of Music and Song (IIMS).”
Here we go!!! It’s official! Clearing the way for our brand new 400-seater concert hall at the @IIMusicSong. 🏚🏢 Big day! 🥳 @OurBalbriggan @Fingalcoco @fingalindo @LoveFingalDub @BalbrigganNews @Balbrigganinfo @BalbrigganIF #NewBuild #IIMS #balbriggan #concerthall pic.twitter.com/t3jkyPhADt
— Irish Institute of Music and Song (@IIMusicSong) January 7, 2022
The new campus is expected to create 160 jobs when it is fully operational.
The IIMS expects to welcome 250,000 visitors a year, welcoming music schools and groups from all over the world to learn, collaborate and stay in the campus.
Michael T. said he hopes the institute will reignite Ireland’s love affair with music in the younger generation.
“From the time I was a child, in school in Baldoyle, our principal there was passionate about music and that passion ran through the teachers and he recruited teachers who were passionate about music,” he said.
“I effectively sang my way through primary school and I just have always loved music.
“I have watched Michael and the teaching and the value that teaching has on teaching. It hasn’t been taught in recent years in school to the same extent that I enjoyed music when I was a kid and anybody of my generation, no matter where we travel, we can pick up a microphone and get up and sing a few songs and we are beginning to lose that – I want to make sure that we don’t lose that.”
Friends in Ireland: Have you visited or performed at the new @IIMusicSong in Balbriggan? It is a STUNNING venue, which so impressed us in August when we roamed the grounds and had a lovely lunch at the on-site La La Cafe! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/aG2LlG7VFq
— Emily SigalaFlagstad (@Starosta1993) December 19, 2021
In a statement, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Irish music has opened doors for the country all over the world – and described the IIMS as a “major milestone for Irish music both in Balbriggan and beyond”.
Arts Minister Catherine Martin said it is “vital” we continue to put music, song and creativity at the heart of young people’s lives.
“Access to Institutes like this provides young people with the opportunity to build their own artistic and creative capacities and can instil a lifelong appreciation of art and culture, but also supports the development of other skills,” she said. “Skills that are so important in today’s world.”
You can listen back to the Dawson’s interview on Breakfast Business here.