Unique Irish Record Stores That Are Making a Difference
April 12, 2018 (2 Comments) by Alannah Kenny

One of the most disheartening announcements that we hear more and more frequently these days are the closures of once popular record stores as a result of the digital age taking over. When you can stream everything online, the desire for buying a physical copy of music just isn’t as strong as it used to be.

However, there are some Irish record stores that are defying all odds and are succeeding. So what’s their secret? Well to mark the upcoming Record Store Day on April 21st, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite independent record stores in the country. These are places that you must visit if you are a fan of music or just want to support home-grown talent, something we’re pretty big into at The Sharpe!

record-store-day

Firstly, what is Record Store Day you may ask? Well in 2007 there was a gathering of record store owners and employees in the US to celebrate their survival in the midst of a digital world. It was then decided that this should become an annual event to highlight businesses and now it includes 1400 independent record stores in the US along with thousands of international independent record stores.

The first official Record Store Day was launched in 2008 and it became a large global celebration that included special performances, cook-outs, meet and greets with big artists like Metallica and parades.

Promotional products are also on offer exclusively for the day such as special vinyl records and CD’s. Stores are known to make a special effort to shout out independent labels and distributors. For more information on the event this April, visit the official website or check out the talent on show from one of the official 2018 ambassadors, Run the Jewels.

5) Wingnut Records (Bell, Book and Candle) – Galway

Ray Cuddihy (Wingnut) is the mastermind behind Wingnut records which is distributed in Paul Deacy’s Bell Book and Candle comic and VHS shop in Galway. He opened his shop to Ray and allowed him to set up his own record store within which he called Wingnut Records in 2010. The combination of the two helps keep both ventures alive.

wingnut-records-logo

Ray is passionate about the independent music scene in Ireland and wanted to establish a music store to actively promote these musicians, particularly in Galway where traditional record stores are few and far between. He sells vinyl records and CD’s, stocking any and every genre but particularly the music of local independent musicians wanting to get their voices heard. This has led to Wingnut expanding out to various parts of the country where records are sold by eager retailers wanting to support the cause.

He advertises on Facebook and also uses his weekly radio slot on Spin ALT South West as an opportunity to promote some of the independent music he is selling. This has resulted in large national radio stations like Spin 1038 taking an interest in Ray’s work. Ray also likes to do frequent in-store giveaways, distributing cheap records and free Wingnut merchandise as a spontaneous way of promoting the business.

think-public-wingnut-records

Ray’s extraordinary drive, determination and particularly his radio slot have helped him greatly in keeping Wingnut records surviving for this long. The more contacts he builds, the more recognition his business gets so don’t be afraid to spread the word!

Where: Bell Book and Candle, Small Crane Co. Galway (and various locations across Ireland).

Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm Daily

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/wingnutrecordsireland/

4) Stewart’s Music Shop – Dungannon

One record shop that continues to stand the test of time is Stewart’s quirky little shop on the aptly named ‘Music Corner’ in Dungannon. The shop is a family-run business that was first established in 1975 selling records to the locals. As time passed, its reputation grew and Stewart started to build contacts with record labels and musicians.

stewarts-music-shop

It adapted as time went on and now Stewart currently sells a wide range of products from a variety of musical instruments, CD’s, vinyl records, films and even earplugs! Stewart’s business has evolved so much that he now sells his own merchandise for fans of the store.

So what is their secret to surviving the digital age? The community emphasis that the store prides itself in appears to be a key factor in attracting customers. Young blood is essential to its survival and they achieve this by supporting local talent. Bringing young musicians to perform in store, then posting videos of the performances to the store’s social media pages has helped hugely. 

stewarts-music-shop-nathan-carter

The store also sells tickets via Ticketmaster for large upcoming concerts, small local gigs and teen discos. This and the recent introduction of artist signings have resulted in long queues out the door and great business to be had.

By maintaining the balance of old and new and building up connections, Stewart’s store is one of the greatest success stories in the country. By keeping his content versatile he is able to weather any situation, anyone fancy a road trip to Dungannon?

Where: Music Corner, 9 Irish Street, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone

Opening Hours: 9am – 5.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am – 5.30pm Sat

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/Stewarts-Music-Shop-366937936723918/

3) Bunker Vinyl and Studio – Cork

Bunker Vinyl and Studio is one shop that proves you don’t have to be decades in the business to survive. Techno Producer John Dwyer established the Indie record shop in 2017 next to the Camden Palace Hotel arts centre, making it one of the newest record stores in the country.

Dwyer’s vision was to make the store more relevant and attractive for young people so he teamed up with local musician and tutor Aileen Wallace to create a studio within the store.

bunker-vinyl-studio

The shop’s in-house tuition and production space allows people to come in and learn how to play an instrument or learn how to use the studio technology at affordable prices. Dwyer’s musical contacts help him out in hosting special Masterclasses in store with local musicians and producers also.

Of course it wouldn’t be a music store if they didn’t sell some fantastic musical merchandise. At the Bunker you can find a whole range of classic and modern vinyls to satisfy your tastes.

John wisely utilises uses his Facebook presence to conduct frequent competitions and prize giveaways which promotes his business in a huge way and earns him loyal followers. He also uses the platform to ask potential customers what type of music they would like to see in store.

john-dwyer-of-bunker-vinyl-studio

Ultimately, John’s innovative studio creation and social media presence makes him worthy of being a role model for how to effectively combat the dreaded digital age and stay relevant.

Where: 1 Camden Place, Shandon Co. Cork.

Opening Hours: Sat 10.30am – 6.30pm, Sun 11am – 5pm, all other days 11am – 6.30pm

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/bunkervinyl/

2) The R.A.G.E. Record, Art and Game Emporium – Dublin 

Just like Wingnut Records, there are two shops under one roof in this fantastic Fade Street venue. The R.A.G.E. and The Record Spot were established side by side in 2010 and both complement each other greatly. The R.A.G.E. is a must for gaming enthusiasts as it specializes in selling retro video games and consoles. Whereas The Record Spot sells classic vinyls covering a variety of genres.  

the-r-a-g-e-record-art-and-game-emporium-dublin

The Record Spot sells over 10,000 second-hand records and 1200 brand new records. They also sell a variety of record players to play them on (which is important!) along with spare parts such as needles, speakers and accessories. 

One advantage that the store has is its strong presence on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They engage and attract followers through their vibrant sense of humour which helps them in promoting their products.

They also conduct regular free giveaway prizes on social media with their most recent prize including tickets to musician Eric Stewart’s live show. Gift cards and bundle deals are also available in store so they look after customers and try to ensure that they get value for money. 

rage-dublin

The store’s quirkiness and variety saw it win the Irish Times award for ‘Best Specialist Shop in Ireland’ in 2014. It’s online pull and the online shopping feature has also helped to rope in a new generation of vinyl music lovers. You’ll be absolutely RAGING if you don’t visit this place!

Where: 16B Fade Street, Dublin 2 

Opening Hours: Sunday 12pm – 6pm, every other day 10.30am – 7pm 

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/RageDublin/ 

1) Rollercoaster Records – Kilkenny 

By far one of the best Irish record store success stories is that of Kilkenny’s most beloved record shop; Rollercoaster records. Willie Meighan began working in the shop in 1990 when it was under a different name. Within mere months Willie took the helm as manager and in 2003 he became the official owner alongside Darragh Butler and it was re-branded as Rollercoaster Records soon after.  

rollercoaster-records-2018

Willie put his heart and soul into the shop which specialises in selling vinyl and CD’s of multiple genres. His hard work paid off in spades with the store following pulling in over 4,000 members to the stores Facebook group. Willie’s social media success led to other businesses asking for strategy tips but he always put it down to simply building up a trusting relationship with a customer. Most importantly, this is something which you don’t get via online streaming services.  

He valued his customers and particularly the younger ones coming in to purchase vinyl in the new revival trend. Quickly getting with the programme of the digital era, Willie made online browsing and shopping available on the stores website. He understood that while the classic model worked, buying records should be made as easy as possible for a generation that is bombarded with so much digital content. This has also been effective for Willie’s UK followers who request to have their music shipped overseas to them. 

Very sadly for local music fans, Willie was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November 2017 and he died a short time later. His 27-year legacy in the music industry lives on however as staff continue to build upon the foundations that he laid down with Rollercoaster records continuing to be a thriving hub for music lovers and Kilkenny locals alike.

While it might be reasonable to assume that the Irish record store industry will never know a contributor as significant as Willie, we can be grateful for the countless smiles put on his customers faces and the wealth of knowledge that he shared.

Where: St. Kieran’s Street, Gardens Co. Kilkenny 

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm 

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rollercoasterrecords/

Supporting local business is important and any record store that tries to beat the decline in Ireland deserves credit for their achievement. With the vinyl revival in full swing thanks to many of these people, why not join in the Record Store Day celebrations. Pop into your local record store when passing by, even if it’s only for a listen and a friendly chat. 

You might find that once you enter you’ll be a loyal customer for life! Record stores are constantly adapting and are more diverse than what they once were so give it a shot and support these great Irish businesses.

Alannah Kenny
Interested in big events and likes to keep up to date with celebrity culture as a personal interest. An avid reader and movie lover, enjoys in depth discussions about anything related to dystopian fiction!

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Unique Irish Record Stores That Are Making a Difference
April 12, 2018 (2 Comments) by Alannah Kenny

One of the most disheartening announcements that we hear more and more frequently these days are the closures of once popular record stores as a result of the digital age taking over. When you can stream everything online, the desire for buying a physical copy of music just isn’t as strong as it used to be.

However, there are some Irish record stores that are defying all odds and are succeeding. So what’s their secret? Well to mark the upcoming Record Store Day on April 21st, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite independent record stores in the country. These are places that you must visit if you are a fan of music or just want to support home-grown talent, something we’re pretty big into at The Sharpe!

record-store-day

Firstly, what is Record Store Day you may ask? Well in 2007 there was a gathering of record store owners and employees in the US to celebrate their survival in the midst of a digital world. It was then decided that this should become an annual event to highlight businesses and now it includes 1400 independent record stores in the US along with thousands of international independent record stores.

The first official Record Store Day was launched in 2008 and it became a large global celebration that included special performances, cook-outs, meet and greets with big artists like Metallica and parades.

Promotional products are also on offer exclusively for the day such as special vinyl records and CD’s. Stores are known to make a special effort to shout out independent labels and distributors. For more information on the event this April, visit the official website or check out the talent on show from one of the official 2018 ambassadors, Run the Jewels.

5) Wingnut Records (Bell, Book and Candle) – Galway

Ray Cuddihy (Wingnut) is the mastermind behind Wingnut records which is distributed in Paul Deacy’s Bell Book and Candle comic and VHS shop in Galway. He opened his shop to Ray and allowed him to set up his own record store within which he called Wingnut Records in 2010. The combination of the two helps keep both ventures alive.

wingnut-records-logo

Ray is passionate about the independent music scene in Ireland and wanted to establish a music store to actively promote these musicians, particularly in Galway where traditional record stores are few and far between. He sells vinyl records and CD’s, stocking any and every genre but particularly the music of local independent musicians wanting to get their voices heard. This has led to Wingnut expanding out to various parts of the country where records are sold by eager retailers wanting to support the cause.

He advertises on Facebook and also uses his weekly radio slot on Spin ALT South West as an opportunity to promote some of the independent music he is selling. This has resulted in large national radio stations like Spin 1038 taking an interest in Ray’s work. Ray also likes to do frequent in-store giveaways, distributing cheap records and free Wingnut merchandise as a spontaneous way of promoting the business.

think-public-wingnut-records

Ray’s extraordinary drive, determination and particularly his radio slot have helped him greatly in keeping Wingnut records surviving for this long. The more contacts he builds, the more recognition his business gets so don’t be afraid to spread the word!

Where: Bell Book and Candle, Small Crane Co. Galway (and various locations across Ireland).

Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm Daily

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/wingnutrecordsireland/

4) Stewart’s Music Shop – Dungannon

One record shop that continues to stand the test of time is Stewart’s quirky little shop on the aptly named ‘Music Corner’ in Dungannon. The shop is a family-run business that was first established in 1975 selling records to the locals. As time passed, its reputation grew and Stewart started to build contacts with record labels and musicians.

stewarts-music-shop

It adapted as time went on and now Stewart currently sells a wide range of products from a variety of musical instruments, CD’s, vinyl records, films and even earplugs! Stewart’s business has evolved so much that he now sells his own merchandise for fans of the store.

So what is their secret to surviving the digital age? The community emphasis that the store prides itself in appears to be a key factor in attracting customers. Young blood is essential to its survival and they achieve this by supporting local talent. Bringing young musicians to perform in store, then posting videos of the performances to the store’s social media pages has helped hugely. 

stewarts-music-shop-nathan-carter

The store also sells tickets via Ticketmaster for large upcoming concerts, small local gigs and teen discos. This and the recent introduction of artist signings have resulted in long queues out the door and great business to be had.

By maintaining the balance of old and new and building up connections, Stewart’s store is one of the greatest success stories in the country. By keeping his content versatile he is able to weather any situation, anyone fancy a road trip to Dungannon?

Where: Music Corner, 9 Irish Street, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone

Opening Hours: 9am – 5.30pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am – 5.30pm Sat

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/Stewarts-Music-Shop-366937936723918/

3) Bunker Vinyl and Studio – Cork

Bunker Vinyl and Studio is one shop that proves you don’t have to be decades in the business to survive. Techno Producer John Dwyer established the Indie record shop in 2017 next to the Camden Palace Hotel arts centre, making it one of the newest record stores in the country.

Dwyer’s vision was to make the store more relevant and attractive for young people so he teamed up with local musician and tutor Aileen Wallace to create a studio within the store.

bunker-vinyl-studio

The shop’s in-house tuition and production space allows people to come in and learn how to play an instrument or learn how to use the studio technology at affordable prices. Dwyer’s musical contacts help him out in hosting special Masterclasses in store with local musicians and producers also.

Of course it wouldn’t be a music store if they didn’t sell some fantastic musical merchandise. At the Bunker you can find a whole range of classic and modern vinyls to satisfy your tastes.

John wisely utilises uses his Facebook presence to conduct frequent competitions and prize giveaways which promotes his business in a huge way and earns him loyal followers. He also uses the platform to ask potential customers what type of music they would like to see in store.

john-dwyer-of-bunker-vinyl-studio

Ultimately, John’s innovative studio creation and social media presence makes him worthy of being a role model for how to effectively combat the dreaded digital age and stay relevant.

Where: 1 Camden Place, Shandon Co. Cork.

Opening Hours: Sat 10.30am – 6.30pm, Sun 11am – 5pm, all other days 11am – 6.30pm

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/bunkervinyl/

2) The R.A.G.E. Record, Art and Game Emporium – Dublin 

Just like Wingnut Records, there are two shops under one roof in this fantastic Fade Street venue. The R.A.G.E. and The Record Spot were established side by side in 2010 and both complement each other greatly. The R.A.G.E. is a must for gaming enthusiasts as it specializes in selling retro video games and consoles. Whereas The Record Spot sells classic vinyls covering a variety of genres.  

the-r-a-g-e-record-art-and-game-emporium-dublin

The Record Spot sells over 10,000 second-hand records and 1200 brand new records. They also sell a variety of record players to play them on (which is important!) along with spare parts such as needles, speakers and accessories. 

One advantage that the store has is its strong presence on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They engage and attract followers through their vibrant sense of humour which helps them in promoting their products.

They also conduct regular free giveaway prizes on social media with their most recent prize including tickets to musician Eric Stewart’s live show. Gift cards and bundle deals are also available in store so they look after customers and try to ensure that they get value for money. 

rage-dublin

The store’s quirkiness and variety saw it win the Irish Times award for ‘Best Specialist Shop in Ireland’ in 2014. It’s online pull and the online shopping feature has also helped to rope in a new generation of vinyl music lovers. You’ll be absolutely RAGING if you don’t visit this place!

Where: 16B Fade Street, Dublin 2 

Opening Hours: Sunday 12pm – 6pm, every other day 10.30am – 7pm 

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/RageDublin/ 

1) Rollercoaster Records – Kilkenny 

By far one of the best Irish record store success stories is that of Kilkenny’s most beloved record shop; Rollercoaster records. Willie Meighan began working in the shop in 1990 when it was under a different name. Within mere months Willie took the helm as manager and in 2003 he became the official owner alongside Darragh Butler and it was re-branded as Rollercoaster Records soon after.  

rollercoaster-records-2018

Willie put his heart and soul into the shop which specialises in selling vinyl and CD’s of multiple genres. His hard work paid off in spades with the store following pulling in over 4,000 members to the stores Facebook group. Willie’s social media success led to other businesses asking for strategy tips but he always put it down to simply building up a trusting relationship with a customer. Most importantly, this is something which you don’t get via online streaming services.  

He valued his customers and particularly the younger ones coming in to purchase vinyl in the new revival trend. Quickly getting with the programme of the digital era, Willie made online browsing and shopping available on the stores website. He understood that while the classic model worked, buying records should be made as easy as possible for a generation that is bombarded with so much digital content. This has also been effective for Willie’s UK followers who request to have their music shipped overseas to them. 

Very sadly for local music fans, Willie was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November 2017 and he died a short time later. His 27-year legacy in the music industry lives on however as staff continue to build upon the foundations that he laid down with Rollercoaster records continuing to be a thriving hub for music lovers and Kilkenny locals alike.

While it might be reasonable to assume that the Irish record store industry will never know a contributor as significant as Willie, we can be grateful for the countless smiles put on his customers faces and the wealth of knowledge that he shared.

Where: St. Kieran’s Street, Gardens Co. Kilkenny 

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm 

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rollercoasterrecords/

Supporting local business is important and any record store that tries to beat the decline in Ireland deserves credit for their achievement. With the vinyl revival in full swing thanks to many of these people, why not join in the Record Store Day celebrations. Pop into your local record store when passing by, even if it’s only for a listen and a friendly chat. 

You might find that once you enter you’ll be a loyal customer for life! Record stores are constantly adapting and are more diverse than what they once were so give it a shot and support these great Irish businesses.

Alannah Kenny
Interested in big events and likes to keep up to date with celebrity culture as a personal interest. An avid reader and movie lover, enjoys in depth discussions about anything related to dystopian fiction!

Related Articles

2 Responses

Leave a Reply to Ben Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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