You can’t travel to Ireland and not listen to a traditional music session or two. While most tourists head straight to Temple Bar in Dublin, the more traditional music sessions are to be found in Galway or the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland. Regardless of how long you plan to stay in Ireland, a night of trad music in Galway, with singing and general craic is one you won’t forget anytime soon. Here’s our list of the best places to listen to trad music in Galway or the Aran Islands:
1. Tig Choili, Galway
One of the most popular pubs in Galway city, Tig Choili is loved by both locals and visitors alike. It is famous for live traditional music sessions. Located at the end of Galway’s busiest shopping street, this pub has both a great location and a fantastic atmosphere. You never know who might join in a trad session here, with famous Irish musicians such as Sharon Shannon known to drop in. You’ll need to get here super early in the busy summer months as this place gets so busy there are literally people flowing in and out the front door.
2. An Pucan, Galway
Another popular pub with locals, this can be great for both a quiet night out with a few friends or for a lively trad session in Galway – it all depends on the night! You won’t find trad here every night, but you will find it full of interesting characters and you never know when a full blown trad session will erupt!
3. Tigh Neachtain’s, Galway
You can’t go to Galway and not have a pint, and hopefully a singsong, in the legendary Tigh Neachtains. You will probably have heard of this pub before, and travel guides and blogs have been recommending it for years. The best thing about this lively bar is you never know who you might meet – the clientele is so mixed you could be singing along with a famous actor, business man or just a friendly street busker.
4. Monroe’s Tavern, Galway
Monroe’s is a large pub located in the west of the city, but don’t let its initial size put you off. Trad sessions here always feel intimate and atmospheric and the craic is mighty, as we say in Ireland. The interior is what catches most people’s eye, and heart, with old stone fires, stain glass windows and a warm, wooden floors, great for tapping along to the live music in Galway! If you are in Galway on Tuesday, this is the bar to be with live set dancing sessions to get you in the mood for dancing!
5. Joe Watty’s Bar, Inis Mor
The Aran Islands are a part of Ireland that the world forgot and it is this mystery and rugged charm, mixed with a feeling of travelling back in time, that make any trip here memorable. Joe Watty’s Bar on the island of Inis Mor, the largest of the 3 Aran Islands, is where you will find the most craic. Here, tourists mix with islanders and there are nightly live music sessions to keep visitors entertained. There isn’t that much else to do on the island, after all. You can expect live music sessions seven nights a week in summer, so regardless of what day you visit, get yourself to Joe Watty’s for dinner and a few pints each evening. Or maybe stop for a drink during your visit to Inis Mor with Wild Rover Tours? You have the whole day on the island on our 2 day tour to Galway and the Aran Islands from Dublin.
6. The Bar, Inis Mor
Another well-established bar on Inis Mor, and with the almost comical name of “The Bar”, this traditional islander pub is another great spot for live music sessions on the Aran Islands. During the summer months local musicians will come in and play traditional music sessions while in the long winter months, one never knows when a singsong will happen. Bring along your own instrument if you’d like to join in the fun!
7. Thatched Pub, Inis Meain
Inis Meain is much smaller and quieter than Inis Mor, attracting fewer tourists by a long shot. The traditional Thatched Pub on the island is normally more of a pull for locals rather than tourists, which means if you do end up here for a few tunes and a bit of singing, you will get an authentic Irish experience!
Getting to Galway and the Aran Islands is easy with Wild Rover Tours, join our 2 day tour
from Dublin to the ruggedly beautiful west coast, not to be missed on any trip to the Emerald Isle.