Central Belfast venues: The Limelight

The focus for much of Belfast’s independent music scene

Opened in 1990, the Limelight Club and its sister bar, The Dome, since renamed Katy Daly’s, have been the focus of activity for much of Belfast’s independent music scene. Like many of Belfast’s important institutions, the club is housed in an old linen warehouse.

Eamon McCann, one of the city's major concert promoters, had been a stalwart of the Belfast punk scene. While at Queen's University in the 70s, McCann had created the Esoteric Music Club, promoting the likes of Rudi and the Outcasts. After leaving college and creating Wonderland Promotions, McCann opened the Limelight.

The club has used the structure of weekly scheduled ‘nights’ focusing on a core audience, for example Funky Disposition which played Friday nights for six years, and the legendary Johnny Hero’s and DJ Andreas Friday night indie jamborees. The Limelight hosted one of Belfast’s first gay nights. Added to these stalwart evenings, The Limelight has seen many early and late career performances from huge stars. In 1994 Oasis made their first appearance in Ireland, and Suede were also early beginners at the club.

For many the Limelight represented a first attempt to reclaim the city centre as an entertainment venue since the beginning of the Troubles.