Ireland has been creating its own unique blend of traditional music for centuries. It’s a treasured part of our culture that’s been handed down through generations and is known the world over. For starters, it’s diverse. On one side are exuberant toe-tapping tunes to get you dancing. On the other, ballads so emotive grown men have been moved to tears. Another reason? The instruments. The island of Ireland's music uses an assortment of borrowed and native musical instruments, including the fiddle, bodhrán, Lambeg drum and Celtic harp that all come together to make a sweet, unmistakable sound. Music can change the world because it can change people. Bono The best place to experience this music has to be in our traditional pubs. It’s here among pints of Guinness and wooden corner booths that sessions take place – casual and communal recitals where musicians trade melodies and ancient songs from our Irish and Ulster-Scots heritage. Mandolins are plucked, drums beaten and accordions squeezed, as friends old and new watch on. It’s music to be shared, and in Ireland, we have it on tap. A new generation of bands and artists including Hozier, The Strypes, Two Door Cinema Club and even One Direction’s Niall Horan are attracting admirers the world over. Not to mention our established acts like U2, Van Morrison and Enya who have been conquering the airwaves for decades now. The Strypes sound like The Yardbirds and The Small Faces combined and have the best record I've heard all year. Alice Cooper Nothing beats seeing these artists perform in their own backyard, of course, and the venues they play tend to be as quirky and diverse as the music genres: from converted cinemas and intimate clubs, to Georgian mansions and old-style music halls, the island likes to keep things extra special. For those with more classical tastes, there's also world-class theatres that continue to host the best international productions in choral, orchestral and operatic music. Classical venues: Grand Opera House, BelfastSince raising its curtain in 1895, this Victorian theatre has played host to some of the greatest names in theatre and music. National Concert Hall, DublinDublin’s National Concert Hall boasts diverse tastes with performances ranging from orchestras classical soloists to The Beach Boys and Joan Baez. National Opera House, WexfordHome to the world renowned Wexford Festival Opera, this stunning venue is Ireland’s first ever purpose-built opera house. Read more: Check BelfastYou can't truly say you've heard Ireland's sound until you've checked Belfast off your list. De Barra's Pub, ClonakiltySince 1980, De Barra's has defined Clonakilty as a tour de force on Ireland's music scene. Music in DublinU2, Sinead O'Connor, The Script: you can't deny that music flows through Dublin like the River Liffey.