The Irish Music Session

The Irish music session is a beloved tradition deeply rooted in the country’s cultural fabric. It is a celebration of folk music and camaraderie.

These gatherings are often held in cozy, welcoming pubs, where musicians of all skill levels come together to play and enjoy the company of like-minded others.


While sessions can occur spontaneously, many pubs host scheduled sessions on specific evenings of the week. This makes it easy for locals and visitors alike to join in the festivities.


Instruments commonly featured in Irish music sessions include fiddles, flutes, tin whistles, accordions, banjos, bodhráns (Irish drums), uilleann pipes and guitars.


These instruments blend seamlessly to create a rich tapestry of sound that resonates with the soul.

Tunes vary from lively jigs and reels to haunting airs and soulful ballads, reflecting the diverse emotional landscape of Ireland’s music.

Where to go for a session

Throughout Ireland, numerous pubs have gained renown for their exceptional music sessions. In Dublin, The Cobblestone in Smithfield is a hotspot for authentic Irish sessions, known for attracting talented musicians from near and far.

In Doolin, County Clare, Gus O’Connor’s Pub is a legendary venue for traditional music enthusiasts. Meanwhile, The Crane Bar in Galway city offers an enchanting atmosphere where sessions flourish.

Join in at a session

Participating in a traditional music session comes with a unique set of unwritten rules and etiquette. Respect for the musicians is paramount, with listeners refraining from talking loudly during performances. It’s customary to wait for a break between tunes before clapping or showing appreciation.

Musicians often take turns selecting the next tune or song, and newcomers are encouraged to join in when they feel comfortable. However, it’s essential to listen and follow the lead of more experienced players.

Music Session card from Exploring Ireland game

The Irish music session embodies the essence of Irish culture – warm, welcoming, and deeply rooted in tradition. Whether you’re a musician or a spectator, attending a session offers a chance to experience the heart and soul of Ireland through its timeless melodies and the friendly embrace.