Dublin: Seeing Live Music

Dublin Live Irish Music by Natalie Parker

I was pretty psyched to experience some live Irish music during our trip to Dublin.  I read so many bar reviews that said “live music” — right on!  But, I quickly learned that live music can mean many many different things.

The Different Types of Live Music in Dublin

Honestly, I felt like Goldilocks figuring this all out.  I wanted to go to a bar where performers were singing Irish music and I could hear it, but come and go as I pleased and not buy a ticket.

1. Live contemporary/popular music.  This means people playing instruments, maybe singing, and the songs are current/pop.  We saw this often walking by the pubs in Temple Bar.

2. Live, un-amplified Irish music.  We visited a neighborhood pub that had “live music nightly,” which was 2-3 guys playing traditional instruments.  This was meant to sort of compliment the scene at the bar and wasn’t a “main event.”  At this particular place, you had to be sitting close to the instruments to hear them and there was no singing.

3. Live, amplified Irish music with singing.  This was “just right” for us, exactly what I was looking for!  We visited a couple of bars that had 2-3 people playing instruments and singing with microphones.  The music was an “event” rather than just a din.  You could still go to the bar to have a drink without purposefully going for the music.  The music could be heard throughout the bar but it wasn’t the only thing going on.  This may be hard to understand, but it’s not what’s described below, which should help.

4. Live Irish show with or without dinner/dancing.  This is what the guide at the Tourist Information center tried to steer us to.  Forgive the mental picture, but this is what you would probably do if you were older, in a tour group, and wanted to see some Irish music — kind of like paying to go to a tango show in Buenos Aires.  I’m sure it’s great, it’s just not what we wanted.

Thinking in Goldilocks terms, option 3 is just right.  Not too little music, not a huge production.  Just right!

Stay tuned next week and I’ll give you a rundown of all the bars/pubs we visited and which type of live music they had.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here


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