View Full Version : Trip to ireland
Well, finally it looks like I'll make it this summer to the Emerald Isle. Any info on summer music festivals, small towns, pubs, etc. Especially Celtic not so much the newer stuff.
We'll fly into Shannon and work our way over to Dublin where we have friends. Thanks.
I suggest you post on www.thesession.org
You should get some useful info at that forum, although "wit and humour" may take precedence in replies.
steve V. johnson
Well, there's music -everywhere- in the summer, it seems. #Having said that, I'll confess that I've never had the money to go over in the summer, the prices of everything pretty much triples. #We've always gone in the off-seasons, spring or winter, and we've found some tremendous sessions in small towns. #We've never been to Dublin, either... Most of our time has been spent below the Shannon, but our Donegal friends say that things are similar up there, in the remote areas.
So my comment about music everywhere comes from looking at the festival notices and schedules in Irish Music Magazine.
We have been told that town pubs hire one or more local musicians to keep the tunes going in the pubs during tourist season because the tourists all expect the music. #So... understand that the season has a huge impact and changes things for the locals quite a bit.
The island of Ireland is within about ten square miles of the same size as the state of Indiana and has around 5-6 million people living there. #Each summer they expect to see around three to four times that many visitors.
What we did on our first trip was to hire a car and wander about at random. #In the off-season we had no worries about finding accomodation, so we'd just start looking for a place to land around sunset. #On later trips we took a cellphone that we could fit with a European sim chip, so that we could use it there, and as we got to know folks better, we'd get text messages about sessions.
There are parts of the country that are sort of 'black holes' on tourist maps, and there are places that are so rural that the locals' sessions go on without any changes from the tourist season. They're a long way from Dublin, but if you want to find the old music, it's out there.
I would guess that if you rent a car and wander, you'd probably do well to reserve some B&B rooms in advance, but if you just ask around a bit, folks will help you find the tunes.
Galway city has some famous (and fun) session places. Dingle town in the southwest is still a good place to hear music. I'm told that the best music in Doolin sort of goes underground for the summer, but it's still pretty famous for good music. I love the music in Ennis and there are lots of great players around there, and we've had great fun in the sessions there.
As for TheSession.org, there are some folks there who are quite certain that they carry god's own badge, but questions about finding music on trips to Ireland are pretty common, and you're likely to get some good help amid the condescending banter. <GG> #Really, folks there can be quite helpful.
Because of the huge influx of tourists, there are music events everywhere, every weekend. #You should have a wonderful time. #I have the impression from what others have said, that if you don't leave Dublin, you should be able to visit a session every night for as long as you stay, and that there are a lot of goodns.
Have a great time!
steve V. johnson
Oh, yeah, the Irish tourist board wants you to enjoy your stay in Ireland, and while they aren't the key repository of information about trad music, you can be sure that the vast majority, if not -all- of the summer festivals will be listed with them.
Search for Ireland Bord Failte
and you should have some good info.
All the best,
Great info. Thanks Steve.
In terms of everyday seisiuns I second the plug for Galway--great players always to be found year-round.
Doesn't sound like you're headed to the 6 Counties, but Belfast has some very good seisiuns--Kelly's & a few other pubs a stone's throw from one another--maybe not the best choice of phrase if you're visiting in mid-July-- in the city centre. An Chulturlann on the Falls Road also has good music (sometimes a non-alchoholic seisiun!) and one of the best selections of Irish-language books in Ireland.
As for festivals, you could definitely do worse than the Ballyshannon Folk/ Trad festival. There's always great craic at the West Belfast Feile every year in August, seisiuns as well as 'big name' shows. If you're uilleann-friendly, Willie Week (Miltown Malbay) is a sight to be heard.
Lot of great musicians in the Westport area. Matt Molloy's is fine if you can stand the elbow-to-elbow crowds, but if you go out to Campbell's in Lecanvey you're likely to stumble across a wonderful session led by Dan Delany, with a bit more breathing room. Olcan Masterson is a marvelous whistle player who also plays around town.
The best craic I experienced in Ireland was at Jimmy DeMille's in Thurles. Not necessarily the best players, but you're guaranteed an unforgettable session. It's a 17th-century farmhouse with a once-a-week license (Thursday nights, if memory serves) and it's out in the sticks on a country road. You'll have to ask around, but local cabdrivers should be able to get you there and back.
Yes, Ballyshannon Folk/Trad festival is a good choice.