The Cover of Hot Press: What It Means…

The cover of Hot Press is a national institution. To be on it is a prized objective for the musicians, film stars, celebrities and others, who have been chosen as cover subjects over the years.

  • Danny O’Donoghue of The Script described appearing on the cover of Hot Press as fulfilling a life-long ambition.
  • Liberties girl, Imelda May, said the same thing.
  • And so did Ireland’s latest superstar Hozier, who confessed that it was something he had always dreamed about.

The Hot Press Cover has also captured moments of drama and despair. The deaths of icons like Philip Lynott, Kurt Cobain, Dermot Morgan, Rory Gallagher and Gerry Ryan were marked with covers, and special issues, that reflected the sombre nature of each occasion. The same was true last year with the deaths of towering musical and cultural icons, David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen.

From the first issue – with Rory Gallagher on the front, in advance of his appearance at the Macroom Festival – onwards, all of Irish life can be found there.

And it is not just the cover images: every front cover has its own distinctive headlines that cumulatively deliver an ongoing story on what mattered to Irish people – and to young Irish people in particular – over the 40 years that Hot Press has been in action.

Between the cover stars, the musicians and bands, the photographs, the typography, the different design approaches and even the changing look of the Hot Press logo, the covers of what has been a hugely influential magazine offer an extraordinary insight into Irish culture and Irish life.



Newstalk Podcast: Bobby's Late Breakfast

Niall Stokes editor of Hot Press takes Bobby around the forty years of Hot Press cover exhibition. Click the play button below to listen.


Exhibition Launch


Every Cover Tells A Story

The exhibition will be more than just framed covers, hung on a wall. There is a story behind every cover of the magazine – and every issue of the magazine.

These stories will be told through information panels, slide shows, video interviews, multi media exhibits and more. The Hot Press Covers Exhibition will give a fascinating insight into the life of a magazine; into what being on the cover meant to the artists; into the crucial covers and stories that went on to make headlines – and lots more besides.

It will be educational, informative, whimsical, amusing and revealing.

It will have a huge appeal to the millions of Irish people who have been readers of Hot Press over the past 40 years, or who are interested in Irish popular culture. And it will have huge appeal to the music fans and fans of popular culture who pack Croke Park, Electric Picnic and events like the Dublin Film Festival every year.

Hot Press is internationally recognized as the magazine that helped to inspire U2, Sinéad O’Connor, The Corrs, Glen Hansard, The Script, Imelda May, Hozier, Kodaline – and many more and fans will come to Dublin from all over Ireland, to see an exhibition that will attract interest, coverage and attention from media all over the world.

Hot Press has played a huge part in the way Ireland has changed. Through the covers of Hot Press we can observe these changes as they happened, while also doffing our collective caps to the people – the artists, bands, movie stars and leading Irish cultural and political lights – who were honoured over the years with Hot Press front cover status...






"The importance of Hot Press is that it engaged with all the significant social changes that were taking place in the decades that were the decades of greatest change. It dealt with that not just through the lens of music, but by having columns like my own and Eamonn McCann’s and others that made commentary on what is happening socially, politically, economically. In my case, I supplied a column for ten years, from ’83 to ’93, and it included so many topics that wouldn’t normally have made it into mainstream coverage – be it Central America, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Africa, Somalian famine, a trial in Northern Ireland, a trial of people in North Turkey, and so on. And all of this was done at a time when technology was very different.

“It’s just a miracle to have people that would make such a commitment, that every second weekend (on top of a week’s work) you would spend all Saturday, Sunday, and Monday getting the paper out. It took an extraordinary mind to put it all together. That’s why I am so pleased that Niall Stokes, and all that work with him, have endured, and that they go on – that there’s a new generation bringing it to a new place. Hot Press is very important.”

- President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins

“I would have been a teenager when I started reading Hot Press. I was beginning to develop an interest in music, looking around at different publications to read, looking at papers like NME – and then I discovered Hot Press. I remember leafing through the pages many, many years ago, and discovering this big, breathing world of music, criticism, and debate – and discovering lots of artists and bands that I had never, ever, ever heard of. Hot Press has had a huge effect on me now in terms of my interest in music – and more broadly, in trying to understand viewpoints that are different from my own.”

- Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

“You had a series of very detailed interviews with political leaders, most notably, with Gerry Adams, with Charles J Haughey, and so on. It broadened out what Hot Press was about, so I always associate the magazine with the emergence of a new Ireland.”

- Professor Eoin Devereux, University of Limerick

“Ireland has always out-punched it’s weight in terms of music, and a huge part of the reason for that is Hot Press.”

- Gary Lightbody, Snow Patrol

“Hot Press. The first ever rock ’n’ roll magazine in Ireland. The first rock ’n’ roll magazine ever to pick up on U2. The first magazine ever to put U2 on the cover. Hot Press – we salute you."

- Larry Mullen (U2)

“There’s no doubt that we would not be here today sitting in the Chateau Marmont having a drink…”
“In the sun, in Los Angeles…”
“Without... Hot Press.”

- The Edge & Bono (U2)

“Being on the cover of Hot Press is fantastic, I’m thrilled about it. Obviously being an aspiring musician growing up, seeing so many fantastic people on it, it’s always a bit of a dream for an Irish musician.”

- Hozier

“We’ve been reading Hot Press for most of our lives, so being on the cover was a really big thing for us.”

- Picture This

“The front cover that I did is a perfect example of Hot Press being on the ball. Our band, BARQ, have only been around for a year. Immediately, from when we started and they liked us, were including us in the magazine. That’s such an important thing as a new Irish artist.”

- Jess Kav of Barq

“Hot Press were at our first gig, which was in Limerick, and they reviewed that. They’ve been really great supporters of our band, so thanks, Hot Press.”

- We Cut Corners

“Hot Press is great for promoting Irish bands. It’s great to see so many other Irish bands that we know popping up every edition.”

- Walking on Cars

“Hot Press is an amazing institution. Not only does it embrace some amazing big acts, but it’s really supportive of the up and coming acts as well.”

- Saint Sister

"I think you have to earn your stripes in a lot of ways. You don’t get to the cover of Hot Press easily! But I don’t know of any other magazine you’d go to if you’re starting out as an independent musician... It is a great thing to have.”

- Mundy

“Hot Press is an amazing magazine. Very, very informative. They’re telling the truth to the people of Ireland."

- Damien Dempsey

“The only cool Irish magazine. Thanks a million, Hot Press. Keep it up. Fantastic magazine.”

- The Strypes


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