Music in Ireland

Traditional Music in Donegal

From traditional song and dance to musical pioneers and diverse venues, see what makes the Irish music scene sound so good.

Great For
  • Music
  • Festivals
  • Culture
  • Pubs
  • Solo Traveller
  • Major Attractions

    TradFest | Cork Jazz | Belsonic | Galway Arts Festival | Fleadh Cheoil | City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival

  • Known For

    Traditional Music | U2 | Irish dancing | Van Morrison | Native instruments | Hozier | Sinead O'Connor | Pub sessions

  • Nearest Airports

    Dublin Airport | Belfast International | Shannon Airport

The island of 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. It’s also diverse, spanning both traditional Irish and Ulster-Scots cultures.

In traditional Irish music you can have exuberant toe-tapping tunes to get you dancing or ballads so emotive grown men have been moved to tears. Then there are the instruments. Traditional Irish music uses an assortment of borrowed and native musical instruments, including the fiddle, bodhrán and Celtic harp, amongst others, which all come together to make a sweet, unmistakable sound.

Music can change the world because it can change people.


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. Fiddles are plucked, the bodhrán 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.

Discovering the Ulster-Scots musical heritage is also a joy: think 400 years of music influenced by folk repertoire, jigs and reels, and hornpipes – all combining to create a sound that has something of a kick to it. And the instruments? That’ll be the vibrant sounds of the uilleann pipes, fiddles, flutes, accordions and the mighty Lambeg drum. 

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:

Read more:

Hmm, don't know that email. Can you check it and try again? Note: Please fill in your email address manually instead of copy/pasting it and ensure there are no spaces before or after your email address.

Getting here

Excited your interest? There are airports throughout the Island with international arrivals. Discover airlines flying to Ireland from your location.

Find flights

Places to stay

No results match your search criteria