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Trad music sessions

We are planning to overnight in October 2021 in these towns: Dublin, Cork, Dingle, Limerick and Galway. A recent post noted trad sessions were not easy to find. Does anyone have suggestions for specifically where to hear trad music in these locales?

Posted by
11 posts

Take a look at website - a really good website for musicians playing Irish traditional music - it lists music sessions and their locations, days and times; you’re sure to find something in the areas that you’ll be visiting.

Posted by
365 posts

Another forum contributor who had been to Ireland recently commented that trad sessions were almost nowhere to be found this summer because of the Covid-19 situation still plaguing Ireland. Until the country really opens up as in pre-Covid days, that's likely to remain the case.

That said, trad sessions are commonly informal affairs, gatherings of a few friends and fellow musicians in most pubs, especially in the Western counties, held largely during the summer months. Even in normal times, there's no way to predict which pubs will be having sessions on which nights of the week, but you can probably count on finding them most any night in most towns from June through September. It's common for pubs to place sidewalk sandwich boards out front announcing "Trad Music Tonight." Sessions typically begin around 9:30 pm. Go early, grab a table, have a "pub grub" dinner and you're all set.

Of the towns you mentioned, Galway and Dingle are two hot spots for summer sessions. Limerick, Cork and Dublin may be as well, though we haven't overnighted in any of them. For future reference, tiny Doolin (with four pubs) is considered a "mecca" for trad musicians. Other towns where we've always found trad are Westport, Glencolumbkille, Ennis, Clifden, Leenane, Lisdoonvarna, Sligo and others.

Thanks, Fiona! I wasn't aware of that website until now.


Posted by
3216 posts

In Galway we listened to live traditional music at An Pucan bar while in Dublin it was at the Oliver St. John Gogarty bar. All you need to do is walk around and listen for live music. We had no trouble finding it, but that was a few years ago.

Posted by
920 posts

Check with O'Donoghues near St. Stephen's Green in Dublin - we found it there on a Sunday afternoon a few years ago. Many places in Temple Bar may have music but not necessarily trad.

Posted by
139 posts

For Galway, the Western Hotel bar in Eyre Square has Trad music on Thursday nights year round. The hotel website still lists this as ongoing (but maybe it isn't updated). When I was there in 2018, the audience was mostly locals who seemed to know the musicians. Noticing me as an obvious outsider, I guess, I was invited to sit at one of the close up tables where several of the musicians would join us on breaks. It was great.

I also enjoyed trad music at the Poet's Corner bar in Enis, and at two of the famous trad music bars in Doolin but I have no idea if they are still having performances since Covid.

Posted by
17 posts

We just returned last week from Ireland. We went the whole loop and music was very hard to come by - there were a lot of buskers in big towns, and some live music in the main square in Kinsale but nothing traditional anywhere - and we expected that going in.

Indoor dining had started to open up towards end of July and I suppose by October things could be dramatically different (for better hopefully). Personally I don't think you can count on anything about a week before you start your trip. Take advice from hotels/B&Bs you're staying at and call everyplace to make sure of hours and plans.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks to all of you for your responses. O'Donoughue's Pub, which has always had daily music, has a web cam pointed at their stage. I perused the last three days and no one ever stepped on stage. After reading the posts of your very recent visits it is clear that the health authorities have shut down sessions indefinitely. I plan to keep my reservations until they become non-cancellable and hope the restrictions are lifted. The music was a huge motivator for this trip after we did a week of trad music festival and sessions in Scotland. I will definitely return once the music starts playing again