The father and son duo behind a new €12million music campus in Dublin say they are providing new ways for people here and abroad to actively engage in music and culture Irish.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin officially opens the first two phases of the new state-of-the-art Irish Institute of Music and Song (IIMS) campus in Balbriggan today.
The campus includes a music school, ten luxury hotel rooms, student accommodation, a café and a restaurant.
The next phase, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023, will include a brand new 400-seat concert hall.
A warm welcome to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin at IIMS. pic.twitter.com/TzspyQQOCt
— Irish Institute of Music and Song (@IIMusicSong) January 14, 2022
The institute was founded by Michael T. Dawson, the man behind One4All gift cards, and his son, bandleader and music teacher, Michael P. Dawson.
At Business breakfast this morning, Michael P. said the idea had been around since 2013, when he established the Fingal Academy of Music.
“There were international bands from the US and Europe and when they visited Ireland they were looking for places to perform and they were looking for places to stay,” he said.
“They were also looking to find ways to actively engage with Irish music and Irish culture.
“We were getting a lot of contracts with various groups who would come to us and do various programs for them – educational things and workshops.
“We then realized that there was really nowhere for these groups, ensembles and orchestras to go when they came to Ireland.
“So we thought, what if we put all their needs in one place? That’s the Irish Institute of Music and Song (IIMS).
Here we are!!! It’s official! By paving the way for our brand new 400-seat concert hall at @IIMusicSong. 🏚🏢 Big day! 🥳 @OurBalbriggan @Fingalcoco @fingalindo @LoveFingalDub @BalbrigganNews @balbrigganinfo @BalbrigganIF #New construction #IIMS #balbriggan #concert hall pic.twitter.com/t3jkyPhADt
— Irish Institute of Music and Song (@IIMusicSong) January 7, 2022
The new campus is expected to create 160 jobs when fully operational.
IIMS plans to welcome 250,000 visitors a year, welcoming music schools and groups from around the world to learn, collaborate and stay on campus.
Michael T. said he hoped the institute would rekindle Ireland’s love affair with music among the younger generation.
“Since I was a child at Baldoyle School, our headmaster had a passion for music and that passion ran through the teachers and he recruited teachers who were passionate about music,” he said.
“I actually sang all through elementary school and I always loved music.
“I watched Michael and 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 loved music when I was a kid and anyone of my generation, no matter where we travel, we can pick up a microphone and stand up and sing a few songs and we start to lose that – I want to make sure we don’t lose that.
Friends in Ireland: have you visited or played the new @IIMusicSong in Balbriggan? This is a GORGEOUS venue, which impressed us so much in August when we walked the grounds and had a delicious lunch at La La Cafe on site! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/aG2LlG7VFq
— Emily Sigala Flagstad (@Starosta1993) December 19, 2021
In a statement, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Irish music has opened doors for the country around 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” that we continue to put music, song and creativity at the heart of young people’s lives.
“Access to institutes like this offers young people the opportunity to develop their own artistic and creative abilities and can instill a lifelong appreciation for art and culture, but also supports the development of other skills,” she said. “Skills so important in today’s world.”
You can listen to Dawson’s interview on Breakfast Business here.