Widely considered one of the nerve centres for traditional Irish music in Ireland, the city of Galway can always be relied on to have at least one ‘session’ – or informal musical gathering – any night of the week. Read on to find out where they are.
Tagged ‘the home of traditional Irish music’, Tigh Cóilí is a snug pub whose walls are crowded with vintage photos of the musical acts that have played there throughout the years, including international and famous musicians. Conveniently situated right in the city centre, this Galway institution holds Irish music sessions no less than twice a night, seven nights a week. This place is an inevitable tourist magnet, though, so if you’re hoping to get a seat and relax while you listen, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
Tigh Cóilí, Mainguard St, Galway, Ireland, +353 91 561 294
The Crane Bar on Sea Road is another Galway bar with nightly live music. The upstairs venue at The Crane, nicknamed ‘The Listeners Club’, is capable of seating 70 people for legendary evenings of ‘trad’ (traditional Irish music). Meanwhile, downstairs maintains the vibe of an authentic old Irish pub, where the Guinness is sublime, and the people are friendly. Sessions here are relaxed, and as it’s across the river in the city’s West End rather than in the centre, it tends to have a higher proportion of locals in attendance. Traditional musicians play every night at 9.30pm – get there early.
The Crane Bar, 2 Sea Rd, Galway, Ireland, +353 91 587 419
Galway’s Latin Quarter is home to many of its best traditional pubs, including Tigh Cóilí and The Quays. This nearly 400-year-old watering hole is home to an upstairs ‘Music Hall’ where TV music specials are often recorded, with a church organ behind the stage, and live music also takes place downstairs in the main bar. The Quays has previously won the All Ireland Music Bar Award, in 2010. More recently, it won City Bar of the Year at the 2016 Sky Bar of the Year Awards. Traditional Irish music can be heard here several nights a week.
The Western Hotel bar is the site of one of the Galway traditional Irish music scene’s biggest events, a large-scale Thursday night open session where musicians of all varieties – it’s described as an ‘orchestra of traditional Irish musicians’ – come together weekly to play and socialise. Audience members can even participate in this inclusive event if they feel like it. Kicking off at 9.30pm every Thursday, this is a musical gathering that shouldn’t be missed.
The Western Hotel, 33 Prospect Hill, Galway, Ireland, +353 91 562 834
A stone pub with a welcoming wood-burning stove, the homely Tigh Fox Trad House kicks off its live music a little earlier than other venues. The first of two sessions begins every evening at 5.30pm in the front bar, while the 9.30pm session moves into the stage area in the back. Centrally located just off Eyre Square, Tigh Fox Trad House is known for being a particularly fun and friendly venue.
Tigh Fox Trad House, 2 Forster St, Galway, Ireland, +353 91 584 181
According to the Galway City Pub Guide, Tigh Neachtain’s universal appeal even extended to the American Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg, who used to drink here when visiting the area. Dating back to 1894, it is still one of the city’s favourite pubs – indeed, people from across the country talk fondly of Tigh Neachtain. Live music takes place here every Sunday, best enjoyed with a glass of whiskey – the bar stocks over 130 different kinds.
Tigh Neachtain, 17 Cross Street, Galway, Ireland, +353 91 568 820
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.