Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 13 June, 2021

"It's kinda like our little secret at the moment" - K-pop's Irish fanatics

“Some might call it tacky”.

IF YOU’VE NEVER heard of K-pop, you wouldn’t be alone. But in Croke Park convention centre, on a miserable Saturday afternoon, floods of fans of the niche music genre piled into a small room to watch singer Dabit impart his knowledge.

ajapa Source: Nicola Byrne, DailyEdge.ie

Giddy and clutching posters to be signed, the fans ranged from children to the mid thirties. K-pop star Dabit was taking part at the anime convention, Eirtakon, holding a meet and greet, a panel discussion, and a gig.

The buzz had been plain to see around the con, with stalls set up selling music and merchandise you’re not likely to see in your average HMV.


One such stall, was selling Ireland’s only dedicated K-POP magazine, JAPAKO. It’s the same organisation responsible for bring Dabit to the convention, making him the first Kpop star to perform in Ireland. Co-founder of the magazine, Sandie Vga says it’s a response to the Irish interest in the genre getting bigger and bigger.

She told DailyEdge.ie the genre’s catchy nature makes it easy to get into.

It’s got a very wide appeal, you have the typical boyband pretty boys and have catchy happy music, but K-pop has a lot of indie genres and pop rock music it can interest a lot of people if they take the time.

As for the current community in Ireland, it’s small but growing.

It’s still a small community, but there’s a growing interest. They [Kpop Ireland] have a meet up almost every month to talk about K-pop and we’ve noticed increased interest on social media.

IMG_7571 The JAPAKO stall at Eirtakon, selling CDs and posters Source: Nicola Byrne, DailyEdge.ie

Kpop Ireland’s Facebook group currently has 1,530 fans, with many of them regularly meeting up to discuss the genre , also running workshops such as Kpop dance, and hosting Kpop parties.

The genre originated in South Korea, with a big emphasis on the visual aspect. Dabit is a young Korean-American singer-songwriter who falls under the umbrella. He’s currently touring Europe and did a fan meet in DCU in October.

Posted by on Sunday, 13 June 2021

Now he’s back to hit Eirtakon, and his fans are just as excited as they were first time around.

K-pop fan Holly from Dublin tells us that she prefers the genre to the type of music in the Irish charts.

I love how talented they all, that they can act really well, sing really well bands and artists in the Western  countries, they don’t have that talent or work as hard.
The scene in Ireland. I think it’s a growing scene, right now I don’t think it’s very large at all, but I think each year more and more people are finding Kpop as it’s getting bigger.

Thank you Dublin!! 사랑해요~ #ireland #eirtakon #dublin #dabit #performance #cosplay #europetour #kpop #다빗 #유럽투어 #아일랜드 #더블린 #공연 Source: dabit1205

Another fan, Rebecca Treacy from Cavan said she loved the genre because she felt it was ‘hers’ and the stars were so accessible.

All my friends love One Direction and stuff like that but I fangirl over Dabit. When are they going to meet One Direction? I’ve met Dabit twice now and he’s been lovely each time. His music is way better, besides.

Dabit himself says it’s truly his dream come true to be touring in Europe as a singer of what is usually described as an exclusive part of Korean culture. The K-pop industry has experienced double-digit growth thanks to the power of social media and YouTube and has become somewhat of a global phenomenon.

He told DailyEdge.ie that it has a global appeal.

K-pop’s appeal is not only about the music, but about colourful pictures, the videos, the whole production–putting a lot of effort into the overall vision.
Some people might call it tacky, but most people see it as innocent and pure.

He says he gained most of his fanbase as a result of people ‘finding him’ as a trainee at Korean company Choeun Entertainment.

People want to get there before others, they want to say ‘I knew him before he was famous’. I quickly learned that SNS (social media) is a useful tool for getting to know the fans, I think that’s one of the things most overlooked by musicians.

Source: KoffeeDream/YouTube

He says K-op fans in Ireland are very “comfortable and cool”.

I’ve had the pleasure to meet my DCU fans it was very fun. They were so open and reactive to everything I was saying they tried to teach me Irish slang. We played games and it was a lot of fun, like friends hanging out.

In love with ireland :)

A post shared by DABIT (다빗) (@dabit1205) on

Which brings us back to fan Rebecca.  She hopes the scene grows but doesn’t get TOO big.

It’s kinda like our little secret at the moment, if it got too big in Ireland it wouldn’t be as intimate. Right now, it’s like we’re a little family.


Nerding out and dressing up: Inside Dublin’s biggest anime convention>

8 excellently nerdy things to do in Dublin>

About the author:

Read next: