Trad Music & bars in Dublin

Dublin is quickly evolving into one of Europe’s premier nightlife destinations. It features a heady mix of traditional pubs, laid-back lounges and high-energy dance clubs. Revellers are spoilt for choice.

Most of the pubs and bars close at around midnight, give or take 30 minutes. A few are licensed to stay open later. Dance clubs generally close down at 3:00 a.m. or shortly thereafter.

Temple Bar
Temple Bar. Image credit: infomatique

Irish Trad Music & Culture

Most visitors are eager for a taste of the traditional Irish pub culture. You’ll find public houses across the city, some more authentic than others. The atmosphere is lively but easygoing. Draught beer flows freely, and live music plays in some venues. Some of the most authentic pubs in Dublin are found along Merrion Row, Stephen’s Green and Baggot Street.  

For the full-on traditional (‘trad’) music experience, consider booking the Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl. It’s hosted by two musicians and takes guests to several of Dublin’s best pubs for traditional music.

Irish traditional music (aka ‘trad’ music) is world-famous. It has been around for centuries, but it was only in the last two decades that it achieved worldwide recognition. Trad music is an essential part of the Ireland tourism experience. 

Trad music evolved from music brought over by the Celts some 2,500 years ago. It has plenty in common with ancient musical traditions around the world. In fact, Historians believe that the Irish harp may have originated in Egypt. During medieval times, Irish chieftains employed professional harpists under a system of patronage, and the instrument remains a key component of the traditional music played in today’s pubs and performance venues.  

Wherever you go in Ireland, you’ll encounter plenty of traditional music. In major cities, it’s well-promoted and a bit touristy – though that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. That said, there’s plenty of authentic music playing in backwater pubs across the countryside. County Galway is particularly well-known for its trad music scene.

Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl

Ireland’s most famous trad music experience is located right in Dublin. It’s a high-energy tour hosted by two local musicians who take guests to a sampling of the best Dublin pubs for traditional music and performance. 

Each venue that you visit in the course of this tour has been privately booked by the tour operator, so you’ll have good seats throughout the experience. Tours last 2 hours, 30 minutes and set out from the Temple Bar area. You can book tickets through the Dublin Tourist Office located on Suffolk Street, or just pop in to Oliver St John Gogarty’s before 7:30 p.m. It’s located on the corner of Anglesea and Fleet streets.

Temple Bar

The most popular area for tourists is Temple Bar. Revellers come to this district for high energy and the chance to mix and mingle with other travellers. The action spills out of Temple Bar onto Grafton Street, as well, with an impressive line-up of restaurants, bars and cocktail lounges. You’ll also find a few pubs in this area that have been in business for decades and attract a local following.

Late-Night Clubs

Dublin’s club scene is constantly in motion, and the venues that are trending one month might not be as popular the next. To further confuse matters, many of the dance clubs in Dublin rent out their premises to different promoters from one night to the next. So a club that plays house techno one night could very well be hosting a themed 80s event the next time you stop by. To get an idea of what’s going on while you’re in town, check the Dublin Events Guide online.  

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