Dublin Made Easy: Trad Venues

by Gazette Reporter
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In this weeks Dublin Made Easy follow the trad path to mighty music with an in-depth look at some of the city-centre’s best specialist venues.

While every tourist in Christendom piles into Temple Bar in search of authentic traditional Irish music, Dubs know that the city’s alive with some of the best trad music in the country, far from the madding crowds.

As you’d expect, outside (and in) Temple Bar the city centre is home to some of the best trad bars, with a variety of styles on offer to cater for culture vultures and trad lovers alike.

The scene doesn’t get shaken up very much, but then, considering the excellence of trad music around the city, that’s maybe no bad thing, as we all love knowing that some of our favourite bars can always be relied upon to give us some of our favourite trad music, too.

Here, we pick out just a few of the trad bests in Dublin, but whether you’re joining the Temple Bar hordes or just going to your local, take the time to appreciate the timeless beauty of our timeless Irish trad music scene.

The Cobblestone

LOCATION: Smithfield

Come along to Tom Mulligan’s traditional Irish music bar and venue – the Mulligan family have been playing Irish music for five generations, so no-one can remember back any further to a time without mighty Mulligan music. Some of Ireland’s finest musicians – including Tom’s brother, the renowned uilleann piper, Neillidh – leads traditional Irish music sessions in the Cobblestone, seven days a week.

As well as hosting Na Piobairi Uilleann (Pipers Seisiun) on the first Tuesday night of every month, The Cobblestone Backroom Venue also presents gigs, sessions, classes and talks, alongside Bluegrass, Country, Folk, singer-songwriter nights, sean-nos singing and dancing, set dancing, ceilidh, history talks and more.

Trad music sessions take place Mondays from 7pm, Tuesday to Friday from 5pm, and at weekends from 2pm.

Piper’s Corner

LOCATION: Marlborough Street

Dublin’s newest traditional music bar lies in the heart of the city, less than two minutes’ walk from O’Connell Bridge.

Opened last July by well-known uilleann piper Sean Potts and long-time Dublin publican Eamonn Briody, Piper’s Corner hosts nightly sessions featuring many of Ireland’s most talented Irish traditional musicians.

Adding to the arresting allure of the new establishment, the bar also has one of the most eye-catching exteriors in the city centre, making it hard to miss.


Sean and Eamonn have a strong background in Gaelic games and Piper’s Corner is an ideal gathering point for supporters travelling to and from Croke Park stadium on match days.
There’s also a wide range of Irish craft beers available. The trad session starts seven nights a week from 8pm, and 6.30pm on Sundays.

O’Shea’s Merchant

LOCATION: Bridge Street Lower

At the heart of O’Shea’s Merchant is the warmth of a genuine Irish welcome. O’Shea’s has a long history of traditional music. Many of the great names in Irish music, such as Sharon Shannon, Altan, Mary and Frances Black and Damien Demspey, have played there over the years.

Offering live music seven nights a week. Check out their Facebook page for the line-up, which is updated weekly.

If you fancy a bite to eat, there’s plenty of wholesome Irish food on offer. O’Sheas ingredients are sourced locally, or come from Kerry producers.

Many of their recipes came from John’s mother, Mary, who ran the kitchen for years and all are favourites of the O’Shea children and customers.

And, if you’ve ever wanted to give Irish dancing a lash, go on in on a Monday night to watch or take part.

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