Traditional Music in Ennis

All Stories

If you missed the Fleadh this year, don’t worry – the Ennis Trad Trail, takes you from the performance arenas of glór and Cois na hAbhna to the streets, laneways, pubs and eateries of the town, where you’ll hear Irish music at its absolute best.

“For you can’t hear Irish tunes without knowing you’re Irish, and wanting to pound that fact into the floor.”

Jennifer Armstrong, Becoming Mary Mehan

In the opening ceremony of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016, in Ennis, Michael O’Riabhaigh of the Fleadh Executive Committee spoke about the survival of traditional Irish music.

He mentioned that in this day of tablets, mobile phones and computers, our young people might find it hard to relate to the world described in so many traditional Irish songs: a world of strife and struggle, famine and poverty.

But one look at the crowd of excited children, eager youngsters and passionate buskers there that day was all the proof you needed that Irish music is as loved as ever!

In fact, compared to many forms of traditional music in European countries, it is Irish music that stood its own ground when, years back, cinema, radio and mass media arrived. Some say this is because the Irish economy is mainly farming, which thrives on oral tradition.

But whatever the reason for the continued success of Irish trad – how grateful we are! Because on any given night, the winding streets, lanes and alleyways of Ennis town are alive with the rhythm of great Irish trad.

Ennis Trad Trail

The Ennis Trad Trail is a nightly program of the finest Traditional Irish Music featuring the greatest local and guest musicians in some of the best Trad venues in Ennis.

Here’s the circuit, at a glance:

Knox’s Pub and Storehouse Restaurant

Join a session at this, the oldest pub in Ennis (opened in 1864).
Trad during July and August: Mon to Fri from 7.30 pm

Preacher’s Pub (Temple Gate Hotel)

A traditional, inviting, friendly and intimate pub.
Trad during July and August: Tues 8pm, Sun 6pm

Poet’s Corner (Old Ground Hotel)

Warm and cosy – share a drink, a story and some music.
Frid Trad 10pm / Sat Trad 10pm / Sun Trad 9.30pm
Regular trad sessions during summer season: Tues, Wed and Thurs 8.30pm

James O’Keefe’s

A family-run pub first established in the late 1600’s, you won’t find a more authentic experience than this.
Late night trad session every Sat 11pm

Hotel Woodstock Bar & Restaurant

Relax in style and soak up the atmosphere.
Trad during July and August: Fri and Sat

Borus Porterhouse (Treacy’s West County Conference and Leisure Hotel)

A great night out with some first class bar food and comfortable surrounds.
Trad during July and August every Tues 9pm

Cruises Bar & Restaurant

Old world charm, great Irish hospitality – the craic is mighty!
Mon Trad 8pm
Tuesday Irish Night feat musicians and singers 8.30pm
Wed / Thurs / Fri / Sat / Sun Trad 8.30pm

Brogan’s Bar & Restaurant

Steeped in local history, music has been at the core of this quality, traditional pub for more than 35 years.
Mon / Tues / Wed / Thurs / Sun Trad 8pm

The Diamond Bar

A cracking little pub with all the right ingredients.
Tues / Thurs Trad 8pm
Frid Fireside Sessions 9.30pm

Dan O’Connell’s

A lively spot with a great reputation for the best live acts and trad sessions.
Mon Trad 6pm
Wed Trad 9.30pm
Fri Piping Heaven/Piping Hell 4.30pm

Cois na hAbhna

Experience all aspects of traditional entertainment – from music to step dancing, then join in, with basic tuition given in the simpler céili dances.
Sessions held during the summer months, Wed and Frid nights.

Did you know?

It is alleged that the first known modern Irish music pub session took place in 1947 in London’s Camden Town at a bar called the Devonshire Arms. However, some ethnomusicologists believe that Irish immigrants in the United States may have held sessions before this. Sessions were later introduced to Ireland and by the 1960s, pubs like O’Donoghues in Dublin were holding their own pub sessions.

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