Long before Stephen Dedalus's excursions into "Nighttown" in James Joyce's Ulysses, Dublin was proud of its lively after-hours scene, particularly its thriving pubs. But the now tamed Celtic Tiger economy, once the envy of all Europe, turned Dublin into one of the most happening destinations on the whole continent. Things have calmed down in the last few years, but the city's 900-plus pubs are still its main source of entertainment; many public houses in the city center have live music—from rock to jazz to traditional Irish.
Theater is an essential element of life in the city that was home to O'Casey, Synge, W.B. Yeats, and Beckett. Today Dublin has seven major theaters that reproduce the Irish "classics," and also present newer fare from the likes of Martin McDonagh and Conor McPherson. Opera, long overlooked, now has a home in the restored old Gaiety Theatre.
Check the Irish Times and the Evening Herald newspapers for event listings, as well the Big Issue and the Event Guide—weekly guides to film, theater, and musical events around the city. In peak season, consult the free Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board) leaflet "Events of the Week."