For music history, head to O’Donoghue’s pub on Merrion Row. The Dubliners learned their craft here in the early '60s and you can still find music in the back bar.
2. Clonakilty, Co.
Clonakilty is a picturesque town that is famous for its black pudding. But it also has a formidable music reputation. De Barra’s on Pearse Street is the place to go. As the great Christy Moore put it, “there’s Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert, Sydney Opera House, and then there’s De Barra’s.”
This seaside village is arguably Ireland’s most famous centre for traditional music. MacDiarmida’s is worth a visit. Close by is Lisdoonvarna, location of a much-missed festival immortalised in song by Christy Moore, now known for its annual matchmaking festival.
4. Galway, Co.
Galway city has plenty of great traditional music, performed by everyone from street musicians to the biggest names in the business. The Crane Bar on Sea Road is a favourite stop for both musicians and audiences.
5. Keadue Co.
Turlough O’Carolan, a blind harpist and composer who died in 1738, is one of Irish music’s pioneers. Every August, the O’Carolan Harp and Traditional Music Festival keeps his memory alive in this village close to where he’s buried.
Beautiful Westport is home to one of Ireland’s best music venues. Matt Molloy’s is owned by the Chieftans’ legendary flautist and has live music seven nights a week. If the man himself is in town, you might even catch him on stage.
7. Ballyconnell, Co.
Ellen’s Pub is a terrific music venue that dates back to the early 17th century. “Worth the trip if you can find it,” say the locals, adding “Ellen's is like 'Brigadoon' Don't expect it to be there next time you return.”
8. Crolly, Co.
Out in the windswept hills of Donegal, you’ll find Leo’s Tavern. Leo is the father of Clannad and Enya. The musical Brennan offspring grew up here listening to and learning from the musicians before making their own public bows on the same stage.