Sounding Dublin

Mapping Popular Music Experience in the City


  • John O'Flynn Dublin City University
  • Áine Mangaoang University of Oslo



Dublin, popular music “sound(s)”, scene, place, tourism, music mapping


This article interrogates ideas of popular music "sound(s)" linked to place by interpreting data gathered during the applied research project Mapping Popular Music in Dublin (MPMiD) 2015-16. An outline background, rationale and framework for MPMiD is presented, followed by a review of methods developed and overall themes that emerged. Focusing on the project's "Sounding Dublin" strand, the article analyses the responses of 366 participants from a section of MPMiD's e-survey relating to music, musicians, sounds and soundtracks that might be considered "typical" (or otherwise) of Dublin. Although a substantial minority of participants eschew notions of sonic uniqueness linked to place in the abstract sense, the data reveal a rich tapestry of experiences and standpoints linked to ideas of a Dublin sound or sounds. Some appear to concur with conventional hagiographies of rock and folk, with others challenging received narratives and proposing alternative viewpoints, scenes and pathways. "Dublin-specific" associations emerging across various genres are based on appraisals of performer engagement, accent and timbre, and narrative/lyrical style.

Author Biographies

  • John O'Flynn, Dublin City University

    John O'Flynn is Associate Professor of Music at Dublin City University where he teaches film music and popular music among other courses. He is author of The Irishness of Irish Music (2009) and co-editor with Mark Fitzgerald of Music and Identity in Ireland and Beyond (2014).

  • Áine Mangaoang, University of Oslo

    Áine Mangaoang is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Musicology, University of Oslo. Her book publications include the monograph Dangerous Mediations: Pop Music in a Philippine Prison Video (Bloomsbury, 2019), and the forthcoming co-edited collectionMade in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music (Routledge) with John O'Flynn and Lónán Ó Briain.


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How to Cite

O'Flynn, J., & Mangaoang, Áine. (2019). Sounding Dublin: Mapping Popular Music Experience in the City. Journal of World Popular Music, 6(1), 32-61.