Directions 1.6km - City Centre - Merrion Row
If you ask any Dubliner where is the best place to catch a Trad Session, O'Donoghue's on Merrion Row is usually the first place that springs to mind. Inextricably linked with the Dubliners and Christy Moore, (who have famously spent many a night entertaining the bar’s clientele), it’s as authentic an experience as they come. There is live music seven nights a week, and it’s always a special experience. It’s basically exactly the pub that you picture in your mind when you think of great Dublin pubs.
Directions 3.7 km - Smithfield
Located in the picturesque Smithfield area, The Cobblestone draws on owner Tom Mulligan’s family’s five generations of rich musical heritage to create an atmosphere steeped in tradition. With lively trad sessions seven days a week, the bar is a draw for many of Ireland’s most accomplished musicians.
Events to look out for include the Na Piobairí Uilleann (Pipers Seisiún) on the first Tuesday night of every month, as well Bluegrass, Country, Folk and Singer Songwriter nights, Sean-nós Singing and Dancing, Set Dancing, Céilidh, History Talks and more.
TIP: If you’d like the opportunity to try out an Irish instrument, check out the Balaclavas Session every Wednesday night in the Backroom when Tom’s daughter Síomha and Jacqui Martin, (both fiddle players), instruct those not brave enough to play in the front bar. (And yes, Balaclavas really are supplied for the extremely self-conscious).
Directions 1 km – Camden Street
Devitts trad sessions are a local affair, with local musicians and singers as well as ‘blow-ins’ enjoying the lively sessions held nightly from Wednesday to Sunday.
Expect Sean Nós (old style) singing, mixed in with ballads and more uptempo tunes, and don’t be surprised if the whole pub joins in.
Wednesday - upstairs from 9.30pm - Open Trad Session with The Quinn Family & Friends
Thursday - Saturday - upstairs from 9.30pm until late - Live Irish & Trad Music
Sunday - downstairs from 6.30 until late - Trad Session (no cover charge)
Directions 13.9 km - Glencullen
Situated in scenic Glencullen at the top of the Dublin mountains, Johnnie Fox's is one of Ireland's oldest and most famous traditional Irish pubs - and famed as the highest pub in the country.
There is live traditional Irish music in the bar every night, plus on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as well as larger bands that play through the year on selected dates. You can also catch an Irish Dancing performance at their famous 'Hooley Night' which includes Dinner & Show (reservations recommended).
TIP: There is a shuttle bus to and from various city centre locations which you can book online.
THE MERRY PLOUGHBOY
Directions 8.6 km - Rathfarnham
Playing together since 1989, the Merry Ploughboys are one of the longest performing live bands in Ireland.They were the original anchor band in Johnny Foxes, before going on to establish Taylors Irish Night at Taylors Three Rock, and ultimately buying their own pub in 2006.
TIP: There is a shuttle bus to and from various locations in the city centre which you can book when buying tickets to the show.
COMHALTAS CEOLTÓIRÍ ÉIREANN CÉILÍ
Directions 9.3 km - Monkstown
If you have always wanted to experience a proper Céilí, the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Céilí is the real deal. It’s on every Friday night from 9pm until midnight in Comhaltas’s Monkstown Headquarters. Music is provided by a live Céilí band playing traditional instruments including the fiddle, tin whistle, flute, accordion and bodhrán. The dancing is fast and furious, but you won’t get away with using that as an excuse not to join in with a “Caller” on hand to call out the dance steps, and encourage newcomers to hit the dance floor.
Entrance is €10 and includes tea/coffee and scones. Mrs Doyle would be proud.
THE IRISH HOUSE PARTY
Directions 2.0 km - Pembroke Road
If you’d like to experience some traditional Irish music, but would prefer 'Dinner and A Show', to a pub Session, The Irish House Party offers an evening of entertainment performed by All-Ireland Champion musicians and Irish dancers, plus a 3 course traditional Irish dinner, followed by a nice cup of tea (or coffee if you must). You’ll have a cup of tea won’t you? Ah, go on, go on, go on...
You can book online on their website.