Best Traditional Irish Bars for a Music Session in Galway

Best Traditional Irish Bars for a Music Session in Galway

Anyone on the hunt for an authentic traditional Irish pub experience is going to want to add these bars to the top of their list! With cosy atmospheres, soft lighting and lively sounds of fiddles and bodhráns filling the air, here are the best traditional Irish bars in Galway to catch a live trad music session.

Clifden Traditional Music Festival is a weekend of the very best of Irish music, song and dance with concerts, sessions, workshops and outdoor entertainment. Taking place this April 4-7th 2024, at the Trad Fest public events are free and everyone is invited to come along and experience what should be a great weekend of music, song and dance – there is something to suit everyone! Clifden will once again play host to some of the country’s finest traditional musicians, singers and dancers and these performers will play sessions in venues throughout the town as part of Clifden Trad Fest’s Session Trail. For more information on this year's lineup please tap here.

Tig Chóilí

The family-owned traditional Irish bar Tig Chóilí runs on a love for trad music. The space is full of snugs and stools, so there’s plenty of room to get cosy in time for their twice daily live trad sessions. This spot also makes a delicious Irish coffee which is perfect for those colder nights and regardless of the time of day there is always plenty of conversation and craic to be had.
Mainguard Street, City Centre // more here

above: photo courtesy of Tig Chóilí

Joe Watty's Bar & Restaurant

One of the oldest pubs on Inis Mór, Joe Watty's is the place to be to experience an impromptu trad session while enjoying a few pints out. This welcoming pub serves up refreshments, proper pub food, and plenty of fun with a strong emphasis on customer care. With a epic reputation for their trad sessions, they attract a mix of both locals and visitors alike. You never know who you'll run into while visiting Tí Joe Wattys!
Inis Mór, Kilronan, Aran Islands // more here

MC McGrath's Bar

MC McGrath's Bar is one of Clifden's oldest family owned bars and is a business that spans generations. Home to some of the finest live music in the West of Ireland, their trad sessions are known for drawing people in from the streets and making them regulars. The bar staff here are mad about music and dedicated to having the craic so if you happen to find yourself in Clifden this year you don't want to miss this place!
Bridge Street, Clifden // more here

above: photo courtesy of MC McGraths

The Crane Bar

Right in the heart of Galway's Westend is one of Galway's most beloved traditional Irish bars. The Crane Bar comprises two floors of bars and music, and over the decade it has hosted its fair share of musical greats who played and sung all the ol' favourites. There are very few in Galway who haven't enjoyed a trad session here so join in the merriment and pull up a stool at one of the best trad sessions in town.
2 Sea Rd, Galway's Westend // more here

Garavan's Bar

A must visit when it comes to catching a live trad music session in Galway city. Garavan's is one of the city's oldest pubs and oozes with character. Featuring live music session every Thursday to Sunday and one of the best pints of Guinness in Galway - they have got all the makings for a great night out. They also offer an extensive collection of delicious and rare whiskeys which can be viewed throughout the bar.
46 William Street, City Centre // more here

above: photo of Garavan's Bar

Taaffes Bar

The perfect place to finish out your day in Galway. At Taaffes Bar, the staff all speak Irish fluently and are happy to banter away as Gaeilge as you enjoy your pint. They also have traditional music playing live each day at 5.30pm and 9.30pm, earning them a reputation for their truly authentic Irish experience. Offering a seriously good food menu so if you're after dinner and a show, Taaffes won't let you down.
19 Shop Street, City Centre // more here

above: photo of Taaffes Bar

The Kings Head

An eye-catching bar in the Latin Quarter, thw landmark family-run Kings Head bar boasts a phenomenal reputation for having over three floors of live music, delicious food and drink offerings and events. They've always got an amazing lineup of live music and local performances so if you're in Galway for the night and looking for a place to hang out either solo or with friends, I think you've found your answer.
15 High Street, The Latin Quarter // more here 

Lowry's Bar

They've been voted Best Traditional Bar in Ireland on three separate occasions; so when it comes to catching a ol’ trad session and enjoying a whiskey, Lowry's Bar has awards proving that is one of the very best. Famous throughout Connemara and Galway, for its lively atmosphere and legendary music sessions, this bar should be on the bucket list of every avid trad music fan as it offers a trad experience unlike any other.
Market Street, Clifden // more here

above: photo of Lowry's Bar

Carroll's Bar on Dominick Street

While its beer garden alludes to Carroll's being a solely modern and chic bar, in-house it really is a traditional Irish pub at its finest! Visiting Carroll's will allow you to step back in time as the interior lends to an old style classic feel that ties in with the atmosphere of the much loved Galway Westend. Its comfy snugs and classic pub atmosphere helps set the scene for enjoying the weekend trad sessions.
39 Lower Dominick Street, Galway's Westend // more here

O'Connor's Bar

Last but certainly not least, when it comes to traditional Irish music, you'll want to head out to Salthill to visit the bar that's been made famous for it. Seriously, many famous people have been spotted nursing pints of Guinness against the quirky backdrop of O'Connor's Bar. You can catch trad music by the fireplace most nights and this whole experience really is everything you need to know about Irish culture in one spot.
Salthill House, Upper Salthill Rd  // more here

above: photo courtesy of O'Connor's Bar

Feature photo courtesy of Tig Chóilí

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