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Irish Traditional Music

I will be in Clare & Kerry Counties in September. Have read about Doolin and great music but also read those 3 pubs are usually very crowded - sometimes people spilling out into the street.
Anyone recommend other good trad music pubs in these counties?
Thanks

Posted by
11996 posts

IMHO the best music in Ireland comes from amateurs who get together at their local pub.

I've always had good luck just asking a local. If nothing else, go into a pub that looks like your kind of place, order a pint, then ask the bartender if there is a pub like this where you can listen to a "trad session".

It's more fun if there are several people there because they'll instantly have a discussion about the best place to go. I write down the different places they mention and turn it into a pub crawl. Everyone is helpful and will do their best to help.

Most traditional sessions end early, maybe 9, so don't start late expecting to catch any music. Pubs close early too, maybe 11. It's better to arrive somewhere early, ask if there will be a session this evening, order dinner and a pint and stay for the music.

My biggest complaint is that I'm usually in a conversation when they start and can't concentrate on the music.

Posted by
8700 posts

Both Dingle and Ennis have several pubs that are well known for their traditional music sessions. And going to Dingle so you can tour the Slea Head Peninsula should be near the top of your priority list.

Posted by
9363 posts

You won't find any shortage of pubs with sessions in the evenings in those counties. Most pubs that have music will advertise it outside. In the shoulder season and off season they might limit the days they offer them. When I last traveled during February, most pubs were offering music on Thurs.-Sat. nights. And I'm not sure when Brad was in Ireland or where, but most of the sessions I was aware of started around 9:00, they didn't end then.

Posted by
67 posts

Thanks everyone for your help! I will check in pubs wherever I end up spending the night. And, I will be in Dingle for 2-3 days this trip.

dale

Posted by
31622 posts

Dale,

On my trip to Ireland last fall, I found Dingle to be the best location for music (however I didn't get to Doolin). Not only were there fantastic bands playing in the Pubs (including Tommy O'Sullivan!), but a "traditional" Irish music concert was being held in one of the local Churches; it was awesome! It was the first time I've ever heard the Uilleann (elbow) Bagpipes. They have a somewhat different sound than the Scottish version.

I found that Dingle was a great location for "pub hopping", as it seemed that all of the Pubs had live music (and of course had to sample a few pints along the way).

Happy travels!

Posted by
6 posts

If in Ennis, go to Paddy Quinn's pub. Trad sessions start at 9:30pm, bring a deck of cards to play a game while you wait, and strike up a conversation with John the publican!

We spent our last night playing Hearts at this pub and were joined by a few of the locals who wanted to learn how to play, a great cultural exchange for all.

Posted by
11996 posts

My experiences are shoulder season outside of tourist zones. The music must be later either in high season or closer to the tourist centers.

After one session ended in Limerick I asked if there would be any music still going. They pointed me in a general direction. I found one place with two guys on guitars singing folk music. A big crowd that turned out to be IRA was singing along.

Also sessions are sometimes posted around on 8 1/2 x 11 copied pages. You can look for those also.

Posted by
9363 posts

My experiences were in shoulder season, too -- actually, two of my trips were in February, which might really be off-season. But every session I saw advertised on the west coast, from Shannon to Connemara, started in the 9:00 area, on weekends only during those times of year. In many places, they ask that children leave the pubs by 8:00 or so, and that's when the grownups get to play.

Posted by
196 posts

Hiya Dale!
Hey there is lots going on in Clare in Sept. Tulla Trad. Music Festival is on from 09-12 to 9-14-2008, in Tulla. www.tullatradfestival.com. When you get the chance check out www.clare.ie/calendar - there are lots of info.

Reason why I responded is that if you are in Clare on a Wed, check out Peppers Pub in Feakle.I wouldn't steer you wrong on this. They have traditional sessions on Wed nights starting at 7pm. It is a popular place for 'locals'. I have family in the area. The town consists of Peppers, post office, cemetary, and a few houses, but is a mecca for trad music. have fun .. ps: say hello to my relations!!:)

Posted by
67 posts

Hiya Claregirl!
I will definately check out Peppers Pub and will hoist a pint for 'ye....
Blessings,
dale

Posted by
11996 posts

Must be weekends vs. weekdays. Most of my time in smaller towns was on weekdays but I had good luck finding music. I imagine the pubs stay open later on weekends also.

Posted by
11 posts

we just returned from Doolin... were there for three nights; the first night was St. Patrick's Day, so I was hesitant to go to one on the pubs. Doolin was busy - cars everywhere, but when we went into one of the pubs for dinner/drinks, we had no problem getting a table. In fact, we were seated right next to the table where the musicians were playing. I'm sure it was crowded for a Monday night, but for St. Patrick's Day, it wasn't bad at all.

Posted by
808 posts

I agree wholeheartedly with Brad that the best music is being played by amatures in Pubs.

On the slightly less amatures side(kidding) I also enjoy the Chieftains.