The 15 towns that have the best nightlife in Ireland

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 full of great pubs and bars, another of the top places to have a great night out.
Credit: @theauldSibin / Facebook

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.

Province: Connaught

14. Maynooth, Co. Kildare – the student town and the place for some of the best nightlife in Ireland

Maynooth is home to great clubs for both students and locals.
Credit: thedukeandcoachman.ie

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.

Province: Leinster

13. Portrush, Co. Antrim – for Northern Ireland’s best nightclub

Northern Irelands best nightclubs are in Portrush.

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. 

Province: Ulster

12. Clifden, Co. Galway – for natural beauty

Looking great nightlife? Check out Clifden in Galway.
Credit: lowrysbar.ie

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.

Province: Connaught

11. Westport, Co. Mayo – the family town

Westport is another of the towns that hosts some of the best pubs.

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.

Province: Connaught

10. Kinsale, Co. Cork – for local culture and nightlife

Kinsale is home to local culture and nightlife.
Credit: Facebook / @KinsaleBoston

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.

Province: Munster

9. Lismore, Co. Waterford – for trad culture

Another of the top best nightlife in Ireland is Lismore in Co. Waterford.
Credit: @cobblestonepubdublin / Instagram

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. 

Province: Munster

8. Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim – for stags and hens

Carrick-on-Shannon is perfect for stags and hens and is some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
via Gings (Facebook)

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.

Province: Connaught

7. Lahinch, Co. Clare – Ireland’s answer to a surfer’s paradise

Lahinch is home to more of the best nightlife in Ireland.

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! 

Province: Munster

6. Howth, Co. Dublin – for a seaside pub crawl

Howth is another of the towns with the best nightlife in Ireland.
via: Flickr, William Murphy

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. 

Province: Leinster

5. Sligo, Co. Sligo – the Vegas of the west

Sligo is known as the Vegas of the west and is home to some of the best nightlife in Ireland.
via Swagman Bar (Facebook)

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.

Province: Connaught

4. Carlingford, Co. Louth – for outdoor activities and nightlife

Looking the best nightlife in Ireland? check out Carlingford in Co. Louth.
Credit: @P.J. O’Hare’s / Facebook

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.

Province: Leinster

3. Bundoran, Co. Donegal – some of the best nightlife in Ireland

Bundoran is home to 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.

Province: Ulster

2. Dingle, Co. Kerry – for old-school fishing-village vibes

Dingle is another of the top best nightlife in Ireland.

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.

Province: Munster

1. Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny – for a cultural pub crawl

Kilkenny is known for having one of the best nightlife in Ireland.
Credit: www.paristexas.ie

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. 

Province: Leinster

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Note: our travel articles should be used only to plan future trips. Please stay at home until the government has advised otherwise.

Paris Donnatella is an avid writer and traveller. From a young age, nomadic parents placed a strong emphasis on education in real experience and the outdoors - a trait which has carried through her life and into her career. She has travelled Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia and still claims that wanderlust tempts her daily. Saying that she believes Ireland - her homeland - is the most enchanting place she has ever been and is passionate about documenting the Emerald Isle. Chances are, you can find her drinking coffee in some hidden gem cafe in Dublin, planning her next big trip.