Top 5 best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare

This county is at the core of traditional Irish music. Planning a trip to Clare? Read on to discover the top five best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare.

Along with the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, Clare is well known for its music. We are counting down the best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare.

You will find warm people and talented musicians in Clare, the county that has produced famous traditional musicians such as fiddlers Martin Hayes and Patrick Kelly, and the Kilfenora Céilí Band.

Diehard music fans or ‘trad heads’ will tell you that the banner county’s style of music differs from north to south and east to west.

To help you on your travels, we’ve put together a list of the top five best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare.

5. The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna – a quick stop on your way to the Burren

The Roadside Tavern is a great place for live Irish music in County Clare.
Credit: Facebook / @TheRoadsideTavern

Lisdoonvarna in north Clare is where you will find the Roadside Tavern, just a ten-minute drive from the Burren

This Irish traditional music pub is a great place to enjoy the tunes and try a local stout after a busy day of sightseeing. We know it as the bright red pub with a lively atmosphere that can’t be beaten.

What’s more, The Roadside Tavern has been extended to include a bakery and the ‘Burren brewery’. So, beer drinkers, take note! Best of all, you can experience live Irish music here every Saturday from 8:30 pm!

Having hosted some of Ireland’s most famous traditional musicians, including Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Davy Spillane, and more, you can’t go wrong with the Irish music sessions here.

Address: Kincora Rd, Rathbaun, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare, V95 T85K, Ireland

4. Friels, Miltown Malbay – one of the best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare

Friels is one of the best places for live Irish music in County Clare.
Credit: Facebook / @frielspub

Miltown Malbay in west Clare hosts the Willy Clancy music festival every summer. It is also home to Friels pub, an old-fashioned joint that dates back to the 1800s.

Here, you can stay warm by the open turf fire or grab a stool by the bar to sample the great whiskey selection.

Enjoy the roaring atmosphere of Friels Bar with Irish traditional music sessions every Thursday to Saturday during the winter months or every Wednesday to Sunday during the summer.

While Friels exudes authenticity, you can also order from the stylish cocktail menu or indulge in one of their tasty pizzas.

Address: Mullagh Rd, Leagard North, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland

3. Brogan’s Bar, Ennis – for music and a meal

Brogan's is a must-visit.
Credit: Facebook / @brogansennis

Renowned for its regular trad music sessions, Brogan’s is a key stop on our tour of the five best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare.

You will find Brogan’s in the centre of Ennis, Clare’s biggest town, which hosted the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil music competition two years in a row.

There are countless ‘trad pubs’ to be found in Ennis, but Brogan’s stands out to us. Its cosy authentic interior offers the perfect set-up for a spontaneous trad session.

Moreover, Brogan’s outdoor dining area of colourful umbrellas and barrels painted to look like giant pints of Guinness has had everyone raving about the place – a unique pick on our list!

Address: 24 O’Connell Street, Clonroad Beg, Ennis, Co. Clare, V95 XRW8, Ireland

2. McGann’s Pub, Doolin – the best of both worlds 

McGann's Pub is one of the best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare.
Credit: Facebook / McGann’s Pub

It is rumoured that J. R. R. Tolkien got his idea for Lord of the Rings while visiting the colourful coastal village of Doolin, County Clare.

Doolin is a popular tourist destination thanks to its live Irish music pubs; Mc Gann’s Pub being the best of all!

You will find traditional Irish music here every night, both in the quaint, old-fashioned pub and outside in the spacious beer garden.

With delicious food and drink flowing here until late, you really can’t go wrong. Mc Gann’s is the place to be in Doolin!

Address: Main Street, Toomullin, Roadford, Co. Clare, Ireland

1. Pepper’s, Feakle – the cultural centre of east Clare

Pepper's Bar was established in 1810.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The rural village of Feakle is deeply rooted in Irish music. The Feakle festival takes place here every summer, and all year round, Pepper’s of Feakle is a haven for traditional Irish music.

Winner of several awards over the years, such as ‘Dining Pub of the Year’ and ‘Traditional Pub of the Year’, Pepper’s continues to wow the locals and tourists alike.

Pepper’s has a lot to offer with its old-style traditional pub and homely dining area that will transport you back to your granny’s kitchen. Enjoy flowing drinks, delicious Irish food, and unforgettable Irish music sessions at this iconic pub.

Music sessions take place here every Wednesday and throughout the weekend, so why not take a seat and enjoy the ambience of the best place to experience live Irish music in County Clare?

Address: Feakle, Feakle East, Co. Clare, V94 DV26, Ireland

Notable mentions

Gus O'Connor's Pub is one of the best places for live Irish music in County Clare.
Credit: Instagram / @gwenithj

Vaughan’s Pub: Are you hoping to enjoy some Irish traditional music in the heart of north Clare? If so, then we couldn’t recommend Vaughan’s Pub in Kilcarragh highly enough.

Gus O’Connor’s: Perhaps one of the most well-known Irish traditional music pubs in Clare, Gus O’Connor’s can simply not be missed while in the area. Hosting amazing musicians and serving delicious pub food, you can’t go wrong here.

Cooley’s House: Located in Ennistymon, Cooley’s House is a fantastic spot to enjoy some Irish folk music. Whilst this bar may not feature the best traditional Irish folk bands, you can still enjoy Irish folk music here.

FAQs about the best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare

What type of live music do you often hear in pubs in Ireland?

You will often hear traditional Irish folk music using various musical instruments in pubs across Ireland. However, the style of playing can vary massively depending on the Irish musicians playing.

Where can I listen to traditional Irish music in Ireland?

Pubs across Ireland play host to traditional Irish music sessions. Some of the best can be found in the west of Ireland, including County Clare!

What is County Clare famous for? 

Aside from the best places to experience live Irish music in County Clare, the county is famous for various things, including the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.

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