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City's toast to the cream of music on Arthur's Day

DUBLIN city went back to black with a bang as some of the world's biggest music stars helped kick off the second annual Arthur's Day celebrations.

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody led the festivities at the St James's Gate brewery by raising a glass in honour of its founder, Arthur Guinness, at exactly 5.59pm, before joining his band to wow the 2,000 pumped-up revellers with their biggest hits.

"So many bands and artists that we knew said they did it last year and had such a laugh that we were kind of jealous, and when we heard it was going to happen again we were on the phone," Gary told the Herald.

"We've spent our first 10 years playing small venues, so we're well used to them and we've always loved the atmosphere in them," he added.

The group later played a secret gig in The Odeon.

The atmosphere was electric as revellers came out in force to toast the 251st anniversary of Arthur signing the lease on the brewery.

Local boys The Script were delighted to perform to home crowds in Vicar Street and Bruxelles after jetting in from their European promotional tour especially for the gig.

"It's amazing. We did four countries yesterday so to finally get home was great," said guitarist Mark Sheehan.

Among the other rock stars leading sold-out and top-secret bashes around the city were The Clash singer Mick Jones, who arrived with Tony James from Generation X, The Black Swan Effect's Jesse Wood and Dominic Greensmith, formerly of Reef. The foursome, who play together in their new super group Carbon/Silicon, performed at the Olympia Theatre.

"It's fantastic. I just want to have a good time really and I'm sure I came to the right place," Mick said.

Actor Tim Robbins was spotted enjoying the celebrations at The Academy. He told the Herald that he was thrilled to have been invited to play with his group Rogues Gallery Band.

"I'll be here for about four days. I like Guinness. It's a meal in itself. I love it here. I've been several times. I've been all over the country," he added.

Manic Street Preachers singer James Dean Bradfield revealed he always loves performing on Irish soil as the band played in both the Hop Store 13 and later in Sinnotts.

"I don't think we've ever played a bad gig here really. There is always a wee bit more pressure playing a small venue because you can always see people's reactions."

Westlife, Eliza Doolittle and Brandon Flowers were also in top form as they took to stages in various smaller venues, including The Bank on Dame Street and Whelans.

Kelis was in high spirits following her eye-catching performance in The Village.

She revealed she is really excited to be back in Dublin: "It's been a while so it's good.

"The Irish audience are always fun, it's special," she added.

In total there were 1,000 events planned around the country and all money raised will go to a social entrepreneur fund set up by Guinness.

Music lover Paul McCabe (23) from Mount Merrion said: "I never imagined I would pay €10 to see people like the Manic Street Preachers. The atmosphere was incredible."