Whether you’re after a wild weekend with your nearest and dearest, want to celebrate a birthday, or are merely looking for an experience to remember, here are the fifteen towns that have the best nightlife in Ireland.
Ireland is a hive of activity. Surrounded by wild ocean seas and populated by lush landscapes, Ireland is the poster child for a mystical Celtic country.
The island also boasts a vibrant culture and social scene, most demonstrated by the plethora of pubs and bars that dot the sleepy villages and seaside towns.
Should you be planning your next adventure on the Emerald Isle, don’t forget to check out these fifteen towns that have the best nightlife in Ireland.
15. Ballina, Co. Mayo – the large country town
Ballina is a charming country town located in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland.
This is, in fact, the largest pub of the county in question and offers endless options for nightlife, depending on your preference. Whether you’re after a quiet local boozer or lively night on the tiles, you will be spoiled for choice.
We suggest you check out Dillon’s Bar and Restaurant, as well as An Sean Sibín (also known as The Auld Shebeen) if time permits.
14. Maynooth, Co. Kildare – the student town and the place for some of the best nightlife in Ireland
Maynooth is often coined as one of the leading commuter towns in Ireland, only a short distance from Dublin City.
The town also has a sterling reputation for its healthy student population – a direct result of the universities which lie in its perimeters, including Maynooth University and St. Patrick’s College.
With a vibrant youth culture, there is a hearty dose of watering holes to keep the town’s inhabitants well hydrated. Pub culture certainly does not fall short here.
13. Portrush, Co. Antrim – for Northern Ireland’s best nightclub
This charming seaside town in County Antrim offers an idyllic setting to enjoy some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
Traditional Irish music is the benchmark of a good night out in Portrush, and if that’s what you’re after, you will be in your element. Portrush is home to some of the finest live music in the territory.
On the outskirts, you’ll find Kelly’s Complex. This unassuming venue is home to Lush!, one of the most famous nightclubs in Northern Ireland. If that doesn’t cut the mustard, there are also five bars and three dancefloors.
12. Clifden, Co. Galway – for natural beauty
Clifden in Galway is nestled in the heart of Connemara, a wild and enchanting wonderland of natural beauty and postcard-worthy photo-ops.
Lowry’s Bar is the king of the nightlife scene in Clifden and offers endless live music and creamy pints of the “black stuff” (a colloquialism for Guinness).
Mannion’s Bar and Mullarkey’s are also top contenders in town, as well as being great representations of Ireland nightlife at its best.
11. Westport, Co. Mayo – the family town
Westport is a picturesque town located in County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland.
Flush with tree-lined promenades and quirky independent boutiques, you may not guess – on first glance – that it also boasts some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
Nevertheless, Westport is a hotspot for social gatherings with a wide variety of family-friendly venues as well as more raucous settings to let loose in.
10. Kinsale, Co. Cork – for local culture and nightlife
Many people associate Kinsale in County Cork with its colourful shop facades and love for local seafood.
What must not be overlooked, however, is its vibrant social scene which assures its addition to our list of towns with the best nightlife in Ireland.
Wind your way through charming streets dotted with locally-owned businesses, stopping along the way at one (or some) of the many pubs. If you’re looking to dust off your dancing shoes, look no further than Folkhouse Bar and Bacchus Nightclub.
9. Lismore, Co. Waterford – for trad culture
Those of you seeking a more cultural nightlife experience, Lismore in County Waterford is just the ticket.
Located in the South of Ireland, this town is rich in history and heritage, and its social scene reflects this, too.
Traditional music and Irish dancing are familiar feats in Lismore venues, making it a great way to lap up some Irish culture while enjoying a night on the town.
8. Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim – for stags and hens
Carrick-on-Shannon is often referred to as the cultural capital of hen and stag parties. And, while it may be a town to pass through for many, it also boasts its own unique charm, making it well worth a visit.
Murtagh’s Bar takes the title of the top spot in Carrick-on-Shannon, although there are tonnes of venues worth checking out.
Dunne’s Bar is fantastic for sports-lovers, while Cryan’s Bar is your go-to for trad music. With a varied and dynamic social scene, it is safe to say Carrick-on-Shannon has some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
7. Lahinch, Co. Clare – Ireland’s answer to a surfer’s paradise
Lahinch is long-known as Ireland’s answer to a surfer’s paradise. Drawing beach babies and wave chasers year-round, there is never a dull moment on the Lahinch social scene.
With a youth-heavy population, Lahinch is also home to some of the best nightlife in Ireland. And, seeing that waves are not seasonal, there is never a dull moment in the seaside town.
We suggest you check out Flanagans, O’Looney’s, or The Nineteenth Bar when in town!
6. Howth, Co. Dublin – for a seaside pub crawl
Howth is a small seaside town located on the Howth Pennunisula only a short drive from Dublin City Centre.
A popular tourist destination, Howth has a vibrant roster of traditional Irish pubs and late-night bars which offer up some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
Make sure to start with the Bloody Stream, underneath the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) station, for a creamy pint of Guinness before pub crawling the waterfront.
5. Sligo, Co. Sligo – the Vegas of the west
Sligo Town is the heart and soul of County Sligo. Located on the west coast of Ireland, Sligo is a buzzing hive of activity.
Rich in local culture as well as bars, pubs, and nightlife venues, Sligo is a top destination for those in search of some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
Due to its intimate size, this town is the perfect place to explore on foot. Make sure to stop by The Garavogue Bar if you’re looking for a loose night featuring much merriment.
4. Carlingford, Co. Louth – for outdoor activities and nightlife
Located in County Louth, Carlingford is a vibrant town most often associated with its outdoor adventure centres and heritage ties.
If you’re in search of a weekend trip, Carlingford is an excellent choice, with much to keep you keen – including some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
Lilly Finnegan’s is a charming little watering hole and a must-visit of anyone in the locale. Other venues of note include P.J. O’Hare’s and Taaffe’s Castle Bar.
3. Bundoran, Co. Donegal – some of the best nightlife in Ireland
Bundoran shares in similar vibes as Lahinch, with a large surfer draw and some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland.
Summertime sees the largest crowds in the locale, turning its small-town vibes into a heaving social scene. Saying that, the atmosphere tends to be electric year-round.
Self-titled as “Ireland’s capital of fun!” Bundoran offers a wealth of venues; we suggest you check out The Kicking Donkey & George’s Bar.
2. Dingle, Co. Kerry – for old-school fishing-village vibes
Dingle is a sleepy fishing village on the west coast of Ireland in County Kerry.
With winding streets and endless pubs on offer, you’ll be hooked from the time you arrive. Summer sees overseas travellers and local tourists flock to the humble village, although spring and autumn are particularly lovely.
Before you leave, make sure to visit Dick Mack’s Pub and Foxy John’s – you can thank us later.
1. Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny – for a cultural pub crawl
Kilkenny takes the top spot for the best nightlife in Ireland. The medieval town thrives in history and heritage, and it certainly doesn’t fall short in its social scene, either.
Explore endless pub-lined streets which wind around churches, monasteries, and places of interest, making this the ultimate destination for a cultural pub crawl.