Pubs & Irish Music

(just seem to go hand in hand)

McDermotts Bar, Doolin
The Irish pub is the social center of every city, town or village. It's one of the best spots to experience Irish culture, interact with the locals by engaging in conversation, sample some delicious pub food and enjoy the many sounds of Irish music. It's here in the traditional pubs among pints of Guinness and wooden corner booths that sessions take place. In traditional Irish music (also known as "trad"), you can have exuberant toe-tapping tunes to get you dancing or ballads so emotive grown men have been moved to tears. 
Irish musical instruments include:
  • Fiddle - an Irish violin
  • Tin whistle - a six-holed wind instrument
  • Bodhrán - a one-sided hand-held drum
  • Uilleann pipes - powered by a set of bellows controlled by the musician's elbow
  • Plus the accordion, flute and harp
No trip to the Emerald Isle can be complete without spending some time in an Irish pub. And remember, it's fun and engaging to sit back, slap your knees, stomp your feet and enjoy the craic - as they say on the island. And don't forget to learn a little about pub etiquette (yes, there are some rules, or maybe call them traditions, you should follow) before you get to your first pub.
Oliver St John Gogartys is located in the Temple Bar area of Dublin
Dolan's pub is located in Limerick City

Book Ireland Travel's
"Pubs with Irish music" favs

Dublin

The Temple Bar area
The Temple Bar area

The Temple Bar area has one of the liveliest atmospheres in Dublin. Tourists and locals alike mix throughout the day but more so in the evening in lively pubs, enjoying great music and good eats.

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The Temple Bar
The Temple Bar

Located in the Temple Bar area, The Temple Bar has great live traditional music sessions each day in their always packed rooms. The bands and musicians are different each day. Instruments range from the fiddle, accordion, bodhran, mandolin, banjo, guitar, tin whistles to the uilleann pipes.

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Whelan's
Whelan's

Recognized as Dublin's original live music venue, Whelan's has established itself as one of the best music venues in the world. Even Ed Sheehan credits it as the place where it all started for him. Live music from rock, indie and electronic to traditional, folk, country and roots music 7 nights a week.

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The Temple Bar area
The Temple Bar area

The Temple Bar area has one of the liveliest atmospheres in Dublin. Tourists and locals alike mix throughout the day but more so in the evening in lively pubs, enjoying great music and good eats.

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For the best collection of pubs that have Irish music, head to the Temple Bar area. You'll find many choices plus restaurants and an electric vibe that just puts you in the mood. Some really popular spots to consider are:
  • The Temple Bar
  • The Quays Bar
  • Oliver St John Gogarty
  • The Old Storehouse
  • Bad Bobs
Outside of the Temple Bar area, another great consideration is Whelan's - recognized as Dublin's original live music venue. Ed Sheeran credits Whelan's as the place where it all started for him.

Galway

Pub life in Galway centers around the Latin Quarter. Cafes, shops, pubs, street performers abound in the pedestrianized cultural hub of the city. Whether it's coffee in the morning, an outdoor lunch in the middle of the day or a pint of the black stuff while listening to some good 'ol Irish music and enjoying the craic, you'll find it hard to get up and leave. Here are some great suggestions when you're in Galway.
  • Tig Cóilí 
  • Taaffes Bar
  • Garavan's
  • The Crane Bar
  • Monroes Tavern
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter, the pedestrianized heart of Galway City, has shops, outdoor cafes, pubs, street performers and an electric atmosphere that attracts locals and tourists like a magnet.

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Tig Cóilí
Tig Cóilí

One of the most popular bars in Galway, this pub is famous for its traditional Irish music sessions.

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Monroe's Tavern
Monroe's Tavern

Located just across the bridge from the Claddagh, Monroe's has food and free live music 7 nights a week.

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The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter, the pedestrianized heart of Galway City, has shops, outdoor cafes, pubs, street performers and an electric atmosphere that attracts locals and tourists like a magnet.

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McDermott's Bar
McDermott's Bar

McDermotts Pub is a traditional Irish pub with a lively atmosphere and traditional Irish music nightly. Delicious food served daily til about 9:30 pm.

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McDermott's Bar
McDermott's Bar

Some of Ireland's finest musicians play in McDermotts nightly.

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Fitzpatrick's Bar
Fitzpatrick's Bar

Fitz's Pub offers a calm and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a meal by the crackling open fire while listening to some of the finest singers and musicians in the nightly traditional Irish music sessions.

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McDermott's Bar
McDermott's Bar

McDermotts Pub is a traditional Irish pub with a lively atmosphere and traditional Irish music nightly. Delicious food served daily til about 9:30 pm.

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Doolin

Doolin just might be Ireland's best town for traditional Irish music. I know it's definitely one of my favorites. With a small town atmosphere, some really talented musicians and a lively pub atmosphere, Doolin should be on everyone's Ireland itinerary. Each of these pubs is fantastic:
  • McDermotts Pub
  • McGann's Pub
  • Gus O'Connors Pub
  • Fitzpatrick's Bar

Belfast

Belfast is full of quarters. The one to be in for the best collection of pubs is the Cathedral Quarter - craic, atmosphere, bustling bars and contemporary restaurants. It's got all the ingredients for a great night out. The narrow cobbled streets are a joy to wander around and explore - duck into one of the alleyways near the Duke of York and see the famed wall mural illustrating some of Northern Ireland's famous faces. Check out these spots for some of the best action.
  • The Duke of York
  • The Harp Bar
  • The Dirty Onion & Yardbird
Commercial Court in Cathedral Qtr
Commercial Court in Cathedral Qtr

Commercial Court in the Cathedral Quarter has cobbled walkways, a relaxed vibe, lively pubs and restaurants and, oh yeah, don't forget to check out the cool mural.

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Mural in Cathedral Qtr
Mural in Cathedral Qtr

This popular mural on Commercial Court has some famous Northern Ireland faces. Great to enjoy and figure out who's who while you're waiting for seats in your pub/restaurant.

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The Dirty Onion
The Dirty Onion

Located in one of Belfast's oldest buildings, it was reintroduced as an authentic Irish pub with a modern twist. It's home to two bars, one restaurant, one of the biggest beer gardens in Belfast and a cozy peat fire inside. There's live entertainment 7 nights a week ranging from traditional Irish music to Bluegrass and contemporary live bands.

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Commercial Court in Cathedral Qtr
Commercial Court in Cathedral Qtr

Commercial Court in the Cathedral Quarter has cobbled walkways, a relaxed vibe, lively pubs and restaurants and, oh yeah, don't forget to check out the cool mural.

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John Benny's Pub
John Benny's Pub

Your hosts, John & Éilís, are well known traditional Irish musicians, and their pub is one of the peninsulas finest venues for music, song & dance.

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Foxy John's
Foxy John's

Half Irish pub and half hardware store/bike rental shop. It's one of Dingle's most popular.

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O'Flaherty's Bar
O'Flaherty's Bar

A mecca for traditional Irish music; sessions here are plentiful and visiting musicians are welcome.

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John Benny's Pub
John Benny's Pub

Your hosts, John & Éilís, are well known traditional Irish musicians, and their pub is one of the peninsulas finest venues for music, song & dance.

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Dingle

Dingle is similar to Doolin in that it has a small town atmosphere. Pubs are within walking distance of most B&Bs. Besides having pubs with great Irish music, some of them have other businesses attached. For instance Foxy John's is also a hardware store and a bike hire spot. Here are some of the most popular pubs in Dingle:
  • John Benny's Pub
  • Dick Mack's
  • Foxy John's
  • O'Flaherty's

Other Pubs

De Barra (Clonakilty, County Cork) is one of Ireland's finest music houses due to long standing associations with Noel Redding (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and others
Matt Molloy's (Westport, County Mayo) is hailed by many as one of the best in the world. Matt, the owner, was a flautist with one of Ireland's most famous trad bands - The Chieftains.
Sean's Bar (Athlone, County Westmeath) hails as Ireland's oldest pub - back to 900 AD. 
The Oliver Plunkett (Cork City, County Cork) is home to Cork's finest traditional music, has great atmosphere, signature cocktails and a great staff. Check out the old photos that line the walls and ceilings.
De Barra in Clonakilty
De Barra in Clonakilty

De Barra - a place where music is alive. Known the world over as one of the finest independent and grassroots music venues in Ireland. Noel Redding (The Jimi Hendrix Experience), Paddy Keenan (The Bothy Band), Sharon Shannon, Christy Moore, John Spillane and Roy Harper have longstanding associations with DeBarra’s and, along with many others, form the foundation of our little music house’s reputation.

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Matt Malloy's Pub in Westport
Matt Malloy's Pub in Westport

Live, traditional music 7 nights a week. Matt Molloy is a member of the legendary traditional Irish band The Chieftains. “If he’s not on tour Matt joins the session, and if you have been dazzled by his flute playing with the Chieftains, you can sit down here for the price of a pint and hear the same music more electrifying pure, more hair-raisingly personal.”

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The Oliver Plunkett in Cork City
The Oliver Plunkett in Cork City

The Oliver Plunkett is an award winning and world renowned bar, recognized for its great food, good drink and its reputation for fantastic live music, in the heart of Cork city. The walls and ceilings are lined with a collection of old pictures and photos, as well as Irish quotes and other interesting references. The pictures and paintings range from Michael Collins to John F. Kennedy’s visit to Cork in the 60′s, to Rory Gallagher, Tom Barry and Johnny Rotten to name a few.

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De Barra in Clonakilty
De Barra in Clonakilty

De Barra - a place where music is alive. Known the world over as one of the finest independent and grassroots music venues in Ireland. Noel Redding (The Jimi Hendrix Experience), Paddy Keenan (The Bothy Band), Sharon Shannon, Christy Moore, John Spillane and Roy Harper have longstanding associations with DeBarra’s and, along with many others, form the foundation of our little music house’s reputation.

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