Traditional Music in Dublin

From Sean Nos to Popular Favourites

Traditional Irish Music

Jeremy King (CC BY 2.0) / Flickr

No trip to Dublin is ever really complete without stopping into a local spot for a bit of live Irish folk music. If you are out and about and not sure what to do in the evenings, you could do worse than head out to a pub (which, by default, will be an "original Irish pub") and then join a traditional Irish session. Want to give it a try?

Most sessions start at around 9:30 pm or whenever a few musicians have gathered. However, if you want to hear live Irish folk music during the day, certain pubs will start the sessions at 2 pm (especially on Sunday). 

Traditional Music in Dublin: 

  • "Angler's Rest" - Monday
  • "Auld Dubliner" - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • "Brazen Head" - every day
  • "Cavanagh's" - Thursday
  • "The Celt" - every day 
  • "Clifden Court" - every day
  • "Cobblestone" - Monday through Friday starting at 5 pm, and Sunday afternoon at 2 pm
  • "Cuckoo's Nest" - Sunday
  • "Aras Chronain" -Friday
  • "Fitzsimon's" - every day and Sunday afternoon
  • "Fleet" - Thursday
  • "Harcourt" - Monday, Friday and Saturday
  • "Hilton Stakis" - Friday in Summer, Tuesday in Winter
  • "Hughes'" - every day
  • "International" - Sunday afternoon
  • "JJ Smyth's" - Tuesday and Sunday
  • "Johnny Fox's" - every day (very professional)
  • "Keating's" - every day
  • "Knightsbridge" - every day (very professional)
  • "Man O' War" - Monday
  • "Merchant" - every day
  • "Molloy's" - Wednesday and Sunday
  • "Mulligan's" - Sunday
  • "Norseman" - Friday to Sunday
  • "O'Donoghue's" - every day with a lively crowd to go along with it
  • "The Old Storehouse" - every day until 1:30 am, or 2:30 am on weekends
  • "Oliver St. John Gogarty's" - every day (very professional)
  • "O'Shea's Merchant" - every day (sometimes with well-known musicians)
  • "Paddy Hannah's" - Sunday
  • "Radisson Hotel Lounge" - Thursday
  • "Rolestown Inn" - Friday
  • "Royal Dublin Hotel" - Friday
  • "Searson's" - Thursday
  • "Shell's Restaurant" - Wednesday and Sunday (5:30 pm)
  • "Slattery's" - Thursday to Sunday
  • "Taylor's Three Rock Bar" - every day (very professional)
  • "Temple Bar" - Touristy but there are three live music sessions every day, starting at 2 pm
  • "The Villager" - Wednesday and Saturday
  • "Whelan's" - every day
  • "White Horse" - Wednesday
  • "Wood Quay" - Thursday to Sunday
  • "Wynn's Hotel" - Thursday and Friday

Listening to Live Irish Music

From the list above it should be clear that traditional Irish music is most commonly found performed in pubs rather than as a formal concert in a sitdown auditorium. Even though the setting is informal, there are still some suggestions for "session etiquette", or how to be a good guest during a live Irish folk music performances:

  • Refrain from asking for your favorite tunes unless invited to do so.
  • Even if the low volume and (to your ears) dubious quality of an octogenarian's "sean nos" (old style singing) is not to your liking - do not start a loud conversation while everyone else is trying to listen.
  • If you want to take photos, do so without causing too much disturbance - and remember that most participants in a session are there for fun, not as paid cast members.
  • Should you have bought a bodhran or a tin whistle the day before and just started to read the instructions ... please refrain from joining in as a "musician" and thus embarrassing yourself.
  • However, if you know the words and the crowd is starting to sing along, then feel free to join in and take part.