Pubs in Ireland come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing you’re sure to find in any town, village or city in Ireland is a pub with a traditional music session. Some areas are synonymous with their reputation for great music and entertainment, while many bars are still lying in wait to be discovered by many. Below we look at 10 such bars that are just waiting to welcome you with the sound of a wonderful trad music session.
10 Irish Pubs With Great TradITIONAL Music Sessions
1 Maddens, Belfast City, County Antrim
Source: Maddens Belfast Facebook
Maddens is renowned for its traditional music, with sessions running throughout the week and into the early hours on weekends. The bar is decorated with Irish traditional instruments and has the charm of a small, local pub.
The bar has musicians of all levels, with visitors and locals cramming in to have a listen. Locals are particularly loyal to this modest yet lively bar. Visit on a weekday to ensure a seat and a shorter wait at the bar.
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3 Brogans Bar, Ennis, County Clare
Source: Brogans Bar Facebook
The town of Ennis is popular for its love of traditional music, even hosting a Trad Trail once a year. Brogans, a family-run pub and a stop along the trail, puts on live traditional music most nights. Recently renovated, the pub is still steeped in tradition and is a much-loved pub by locals and visitors to Ennis. If you’re visiting Clare for the weekend, another must-visit town for great trad sessions is Doolin, considered by many to be the traditional music capital of Ireland. Be sure to check out our 72-hour guide to Clare before planning your stay in the Banner County.
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4 O’Donoghue’s, Dublin City, County Dublin
Source: O’Donoghue’s Facebook
As one of the places where Irish traditional music legends The Dubliners first played, it would be hard not to mention O’Donoghue’s on this list.The pub is filled every night with the sound of traditional music, with onlookers nursing a pint of Guinness and enjoying the great sounds.
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5 Peadar O’Donnell’s, Derry City, County Derry
Source: Peadar O’Donnell’s Facebook
Peadar O’Donnell’s is separated into three different bars: Peadar O’Donnell’s, the Gweedore Bar and Gweedore Upstairs, and is a much-celebrated traditional Irish music venue along Ireland’s north coast. With local musicians and visiting performers playing at the venue, this is a particular highlight for many visitors to the Walled City of Derry.
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6 O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub, Dingle, County Kerry
O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub is an idyllic spot for live traditional music. The cosy pub has a strong lineup of resident musicians who play regularly and is packed most nights.
7 Matt Molloy’s, Westport, County Mayo
Source: Matt Molloy’s Facebook
At the centre of Westport town lies Matt Molloy’s, a lively traditional music venue that has sessions running seven nights a week. The Chieftains, one of Ireland’s most famous traditional music groups, and John Carty, a well-known Irish musician, have played at Matt Molly’s on several occasions. Matt Molloy himself joined The Chieftains in 1979, replacing Michael Tubridy on flute. Matt Molloy’s and the famous Westport pub scene are just one of the many reasons to finish this West Mayo town.
8 Sin é, Cork City, County Cork
Source: Sin É Facebook
Irish for ‘That’s It’, Sin É is named after the funeral parlour that lies next to it. The pub is the go-to place for many for Irish trad sessions in Cork City. Live music is played every night from 18:30PM from May to September, with regular sessions on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays throughout the year.
9 Cryans, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim
Source: Cryans Facebook
Cryan’s is a quaint pub in the laid back town of Carrick-on-Shannon. The pub features as part of Carrick Water Music Festival Music Trail, a celebration of traditional and local music that happens across the town every year.
Throughout the year the pub also has Irish Music Sessions on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights. It’s a great spot for a few pints, music and great ‘craic’.
10 Johnnie Foxes, Glencullen, County Dublin
Source: Johnnie Foxes Facebook
One of Dublin’s oldest pubs (established 1798), Johnnie Foxes is a thirty-minute drive from Dublin City and situated in the peaceful town of Glencullen. The pub is in an idyllic setting amidst County Dublin’s mountain tops and is one of the highest pubs in Ireland. The pub hosts live traditional music seven nights a week with some of the best local and visiting musicians creating a memorable atmosphere.
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Got a local pub to add to the list?
Have we missed your favourite pub in Ireland for a trad session? Let us know by commenting below.