Doolin offers traditional music nightly all year round and there are at least 4 different sessions in the village every night between March & October. With over 35 sessions per week in the summer it can be difficult to decide which one to attend. Here are our top picks !
Wild Atlantic Session - Fitzpatrick's Bar, Mondays (all year)
The Wild Atlantic Session takes place on Mondays, all year round, in Fitzpatrick’s Bar at Hotel Doolin. The session, hosted by members of the band “Fiddle Case” Eoin O’Neill, Quentin Cooper, Jon O’Connell & Adam Shapiro, has become a favourite among locals as well as visitors. It is an open session with a great mix of tunes and songs, and many guests join in each week.
Blackie, Cyril & Geraldine – McGann's Pub, Tuesdays (all year)
Blackie O’Connell is one of Ireland’s finest uilleann pipers (irish bagpipes) and he plays in McGann’s Pub every Tuesday along with Cyril O’Donoghue (bouzouki & vocals) and Geraldine MacGowan (bodhran & vocals). Blackie’s powerful playing is accompanied brilliantly by Cyril & Gerladine who perform fantastic songs in between sets. “Ceol agus craic” (music and fun) guaranteed every Tuesday !
Blackie & Cyril also play in McGann’s on Sundays and in McDermott’s on Mondays and Wednesdays during the summer (March – November).
Mark Burke, Eimear Howley & Brian Donnellan - McDermott's Pub, Fridays
Mark Burke (accordion), Eimear Howley (fiddle/banjo) & Brian Donnellan (bouzouki) are young musicians from the area and they have a great concert style gig in McDemott’s Pub on Fridays. They play jigs and reels with great passion and energy and you are guaranteed to experience a memorable night filled with fun and great pints!
Super Sunday – Gus O'Connor's Pub, Sundays (all year)
Where would you get 3 sessions in a row, over 8 hours of live irish music non stop, in the same venue ? In Doolin of course !
There’s been a double session in O’Connor’s Pub on Sundays for many years and it has been hosted by Noel O’Donoghue (flute) for over 20 years. Noel usually plays with Sean Vaughan (accordion) and guest musicians join in every week as it is an open session that is very popular in the area.
In 2016 an earlier session (4:30pm) was started by Charles Monod (concertina) who is usually joined by Stéphane Germain (flute) and more guests. This session is very family friendly as it is a great time for children to be in the pub and young musicians are encouraged to join in. The early session runs from March to November.
Tara Howley & Friends - Fitzpatrick's Bar, Wednesdays
Tara comes from a very musical family and all her sisters play in Doolin regularly. Tara is the youngest and she plays the uilleann pipes, fiddle & concertina and is a great singer and dancer as well. Her great talent has brought her all around the world as she has been touring with the world famous Riverdance. We are lucky to have her in Fitzpatrick’s Bar at Hotel Doolin where she’s usually joined by Peadar Reilly (flute) and Brian Donnellan (bouzouki).
Christy Barry & Friends - O'Connor's Pub, Mondays & Tuesdays
Christy Barry is a very popular local musician who has been playing in Doolin for over 40 years. He set up “Doolin Music House” in 2016 but you can also see Christy play at sessions in Doolin on Mondays & Tuesdays. Christy plays flute, whistle & spoons and he is joined by his long time musical partners James Devitt (fiddle) and Terry Bingham (concertina & accordion). It is a very lively open session which attracts many visiting musicians, both locals and from afar, and Christy is always very welcoming with singers and guests.
Impromptu sessions - When the magic happens
These are the sessions everyone hopes to experience ! Whether it is for a special occasion (birthday, wedding, etc.) or for no apparent reason, local and/or visitor musicians sometimes decide to sit down in a pub, order a drink, take out their instruments and start playing. It can be two friends who decide to spend a cold winter afternoon by the fire and have a chat and a few tunes or it can be a dozen musicians attending a birthday party who spontaneously start a session.
These spontaneous sessions tend to happen more often between November and March, but also occur in the summer, typically during one of the festival in Doolin.
The short video below was filmed at a local musician’s birthday party and it was one of three simultaneous sessions in the pub !