The Dublin Castle

Completed: 2022
Location: Camden, North London
Region: London
Other local partners: Allianz Musical Insurance, Avondale Construction, Dulux, FMB, Travis Perkins,

About the project

In January 2022, we renovated the iconic Camden music venue, The Dublin Castle, which has been home to the early careers of British music legends like Madness, Blur and Amy Winehouse (who could sometimes be seen serving behind the bar too!) 

The pub opened in 1857 to serve the workmen at the nearby railway and slowly transformed from occasionally hosting Irish folk music sessions to now hosting their popular weekly Tuesday night jam, including appearances from major bands such as The Libertines.

Our first project of the year was also our first in partnership with Allianz Musical Insurance, who are helping to revive music venues hard hit by the pandemic. We created new accessible toilets, re-soundproofed the staging area and gave the interior a fresh lick of  black and their iconic red paint.

Two great local referral partners nominated 12 young people from New City College and a London-based training provider called ELATT, who were really engaged and enjoyed working on the project. Overall 12 young people earned 23 accreditations between them.

We also worked with UK Trade Association Federation of Master Builders having previously worked with them at The Sound Lounge. Two of their local members volunteered as Trade Mentors, and our young volunteers also received a work readiness talk by a local Contracts Manager from Avondale Construction. A real inspiring, collaborative industry effort – thanks team!

The Dublin Castle is now ‘back to black’ and ready to welcome gig goers back into their newly renovated space. Venue owner, Henry Conlon, is thrilled to have worked with VIY on their renovations:

“We’re overwhelmed to see the enthusiasm of young people who were actively engaged and involved within this project.

The students dedicated their days to the projects under the expertise, reassurance and the guidance of the VIY mentors. The VIY project stimulated the minds of the young as they could see that the work they were doing was actually helping the continuity of live music performance here at The Dublin Castle.

They’ve gained new skills and honed their craftsmanship in several areas of the venue. Often under the watchful eye of mentors, the projects built shall last for decades. The result is continuity of the venue for audiences and musicians to enjoy for years to come.

VIY’s work is essential, as it physically helps young people re-engage with work and their essential contribution to Grassroots Music Venues who struggle financially to maintain their venues.”

We have a long history of providing musical instrument insurance and it’s been devastating to see the impact the pandemic has had on such a creative sector. These charities are doing amazing, much needed work and I’m thrilled we’re able to provide funding to help them support the industry and get it back to what it once was. Kieran O'Keeffe, Allianz Musical Insurance
While live music is returning, we know it will be a long time until performing musicians are able to regain stability in their careers. The range of support needed to ensure we don’t lose any of our incredible musicians across the UK is vast, which is why support such as this from Allianz Musical Insurance is vital. We’d like to thank Allianz for their ongoing support and the difference they will make to so many musicians. James Ainscough, Help Musicians Chief Executive
The thing I liked most about VIY was that it gave me a good mix between college and real work life. We were trusted to do tasks by ourselves and at the same time tutored to make sure we were safe and did the task correctly. Jamie Brickwood, Young Volunteer