The traditional Irish music has seen a resurgence in recent years with growing access through the internet. While ´trad´sessions are not so hard to find in the countryside, ones in Dublin can be too touristic and artificial. The two places I mention here are well known for the quality of their music though one is certainly more touristic than the other.
Oliver St John Gogarty´s (pronounced Oliver Sinjun Gogarty´s) is a pub in the heart of Dublin´s centrally located Temple Bar region. Originally quite a run down but characterful district, it is now home to countless restaurants, pubs and shops. While the original bohemian air has become more touristic it is still a firm favourite with visitors and locals alike. Half way along the cobble stoned street that leads through it past the central plaza thronged with people, you´ll find Oliver St John Gogarty´s on a prominent corner. Downstairs is a traditional pub while upstairs, in the evenings, a trad session gets underway. It is full of tourists but this is largely because the musicians are genuinely very talented. Admission is free but a hat is passed during the evening into which a contribution is expected. It´s well worth a visit and, because it is so centrally located, it´s very convenient to other good places around.
O´Donoghue´s, meanwhile, is a fifteen or twenty minute walk from this spot. It is located on Baggot Street, close to the side of St Stephen´s green that is away from the main shopping areas. Baggot Street is a relatively affluent business area of Georgian Dublin so there are less tourists and more middle class locals in the pubs and restaurants there. The live music there seemed to be a bit ad hoc in the traditional nature of the culture, where musicians gathered together and joined in at will. You might call ahead to ensure that there is music though, even if you take a chance and drop in only to find that there isn´t music playing, the pub, as a true Dub Pub, is worth a visit anyway.
Dress Code: Irish traditional music is as informal as it gets. Come as you wish.
This is the seond time I have been here and it was just as I had remembered. Busy, loud and great fun. There are normally a few bands playing and there is only a short interval between them. The music is typically Irish and some familiar songs encourage audience participation.
Temple Bar is open till the very wee hours and when we left at 1am people were still queuing to get into the clubs and pubs! I must be a wimp.
Dress Code: Most places are casual dress but I imagine some clubs would demand smarter dress without trainers and jeans.