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

Traditional music in Ireland

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.


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.

Modern music in Ireland

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:

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