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Traditional Irish Music in Dublin

Traditional Irish Music in Dublin


Are you for the first time in Ireland and want to know what the traditional music here is all about? Or do you just want to listen to some Folk sounds in a nice pub in Dublin? Either way, you have to read this post then. We will tell you something about the history of Irish Music and the styles you can find. Of course, we also have some recommendations for pubs in Dublin that are hosting awesome traditional Irish music sessions.

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Traditional Irish music has its origins 2000 years ago when the Celts arrived in Ireland. It was also influenced by eastern music and it’s speculated that the Irish harp comes from Egypt.

The harp was the most dominant instrument from the 10th to the 17h Century and the landlords even hired harpists. In 1762 there was the first written collection and the most famous is from Edward Bunting out of the year 1792.  

Due to the Great Famine in the 1840s, 2 million Irishmen and -women emigrated and established Irish music across the world, for example in the US.

During the 20th Century there were a lot of changes for the traditional Irish music. The speed was raised, musical arrangements were introduced, it found its way into the cities from the rural areas and the sound emerged with other styles from around the world. There were also fusions with other genres like Rock or Punk.


There are different styles of traditional Irish music that influence the way of how the instruments are played and how the rhythm is.


There are styles for singing like Folk, Sean Nos and Caoineadh, but also some to dance to like Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes and Polkas. As you can see the music is very versatile and there are loads of different styles with different main themes.  

You can also find different styles of concerts. There are seisún sessions that are an informal gathering of musicians. It also contains a bit of dancing and clapping and usually takes place in pubs.  The other style is céilí which is all about dancing to the music. You will find different styles of dancing for each place you’re going to.



We prepared a list of 6 of the most used instruments of traditional Irish music:

  • The Fiddle: It looks like a violin, but you play it faster and the sound is higher.
  • The Irish Flute: This flute is made out of wood and produces a smooth sound which is unique to Ireland.
  • The Tin Whistle: It´s out of metal and has his origins in the 12th Century.
  • The Celtic Harp: Traditionally it´s wire strung and has no pedal, but you will find harps today with a pedal and they’re gut strung.
  • Uilleann Pipes: They have a chanter and drones or a regulator and it often takes years to master the instrument, because it´s very complex.
  • Bodhrán: This is a large framed drum and you struck it with a stick.

Pubs in Dublin where you can listen to traditional Irish music


  • The Cobblestone: This pub is in Smithfield, 15 minutes away from Temple Bar. You will find some very good traditional music from 5pm from Monday to Friday and from 2pm from Saturday to Sunday.  
  • The Celt: Just 10 minutes away from the Spire you can find the Celt in Talbot Street. Listen to some authentic Irish music from 9pm everyday.
  • Merchant´s Arch Bar & Restaurant: They offer music everyday, sometimes even until 2am and they´re located beside the Ha’penny Bridge. Pop in for some classics from 5pm from Monday to Thursday and from 1pm from Friday to Sunday.  
  • Temple Bar: If you want to decide spontaneously, just go to Temple Bar, because almost every pub has live music there. Stroll through the alleys and make your decision for the evening.
  • Temple Bar Trad Fest: This is a special festival for traditional Irish music from the 24th to 28th January. They have multiple locations like St. Patrick´s Cathedral or the Dublin City Hall and a huge line-up as well. You can buy tickets for the concerts from 10€.


Enjoy some good traditional Irish Music and experience the sound of Ireland!!


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