Conor Donovan, co-founder and MC of The Ruby Sessions, writes for Culture about taking the beloved Dublin music club online... 

The Ruby Sessions is an acoustic music club held weekly every Tuesday, in the intimate setting of Doyle's of College Street for the past 21 years. Four original acts play a stripped back set in front of a completely silent candlelit room each week. Since it's inception on April 13th 1999 the Ruby's (as it's affectionately called by its founders Conor Donovan and Niall Muckian) has hosted some of the world's biggest names, along with consistently championing the best in new and emerging talent from around the globe. Everyone from Ed Sheeran to Hozier, Julia Michaels to Mumford and Sons have graced our hallowed stage. 

Ashley Campell plays The Ruby Sessions At Home on Tuesday, May 26th

It has been a very strange time for everyone the last few months and on the 10th of March, we shut our doors for only the 2nd time in our 21 years as the impact of Covid-19 on the live music industry took hold. In an ever-changing landscape, with uncertainty abound, we felt it was important to maintain some stability and continue providing support, not only for Dublin Simon Community but for the Irish music community too.

Watch: Villagers & Wallis Bird play The Ruby Sessions At Home

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For the last 7 weeks, we have opened our digital doors every Tuesday at 9pm to bring you The Ruby Sessions At Home, a weekly, live gig, broadcast directly into your homes. The show, which is live-streamed on both YouTube and Facebook, features two special artists every week, performing a 20-minute set each.

Performers for The Ruby Sessions At Home so far include Villagers, Lisa Hannigan, Gavin James, Wallis Bird, The Coronas, Saint Sister, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Theo Katzman, JC Stewart, HamsandwicH, Gabrielle Aplin, Junior Brother, Gypsies On The Autobahn and Join Me In The Pines. 

Watch: Lisa Hannigan & Saint Sister play The Ruby Sessions At Home

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Dublin Simon Community is central to all that we do at The Ruby Sessions and we are encouraging viewers to donate throughout the streams. To date, since its launch, The Ruby Sessions At Home has raised in excess of €9,000.

The Ruby Sessions is such an important part of all our lives, so it was very strange to cancel it for only the second time in 21 years. We very quickly dusted ourselves off and realised we had a real opportunity to bring the Sessions directly to our audience’s homes all while raising vital money for Dublin Simon Community. We treat our Live At Home gig series as if it was a TV broadcast.

It was our goal to recreate the unique, intimate experience of our live setting to the best of our ability.

Watch: Soda Blonde & Lyra play The Ruby Sessions At Home

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While nothing can really replace the live experience, with the help of a team that includes Marc Aubele, Ger Murphy and Shauna Watson, we feel we’ve achieved that and then some. 

We all miss our home in Doyle’s very much. There is something magical about that room and we can’t wait to get back there. We take the safety of our artists and audience very seriously, so will only be opening our doors when the proper systems are in place and until then will continue to bring The Ruby Sessions at Home to you each Tuesday at 9pm. Come join us... 

The Ruby Sessions at Home continue on Tuesday 26th May with special guests Nathaniel Rateliff and Ashley Campbell - watch them online here.