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Irish Trad Music

People come to Clare from all over the world to hear traditional Irish music, or trad for short. Of course it can be heard in most counties of Ireland but nowhere are the people more passionate about it than in Clare. And it shows. The quantity, quality and variety of pub sessions going on across the county throughout the year is simply unmatched anywhere else in Ireland. It would be a shame if you came to Clare and missed out!

So here’s our guide to the trad music pubs of West Clare. Not every pub has a session on every night, but ask and you will soon be pointed in the right direction. Ok, here we go working our way from Kilrush in the south to Ballyvaughan in the north. We’ve also included our top restaurant picks in case you get hungry.


  • Crotty’s Pub – every Tuesday. festival mid-August
  • The Way Inn – nightly during the summer


  • The Long Dock – Wed, Friday to Sunday during the summer
  • Morrissey’s Village Pub – trad music and set dancing at the weekends
  • Eat here: Fennell’s – top notch seafood

Kilbaha (near Loop Head)

  • The Lighthouse Inn – irregular sessions


  • O’ Mara’s – irregular sessions


  • Eat here: Morrissey’s Seafood Bar and Grill

Milltown Malbay
Home to the Willie Clancy Summer School, if you are here for the weekcommencing the first Sunday of July you will be treated to the besttraditional music this country has to offer all week long in all barsand all free. Do yourself a favour. Outside this week try:

  • Lynch’s Bar – Wed, Fri & Saturday
  • Hillery’s – Mon, Wed, Fri – Sunday
  • Eat here: Berry Lodge and Cookery School, south of Milltown, great restaurant (reservations essential)
  • Eat here: Black Oak, north of town, sea view location


  • The Cornerstone – Thursday
  • The Nineteenth – Saturday
  • The Claremount Hotel – Sunday
  • Eat here: Barrtra Seafood Restaurant. Excellent seafood 5km north of Lahinch
  • Eat here: Atlantic Hotel – great food and a friendly atmosphere


  • Daly’s – Thur & Sunday
  • Cooley’s House – Wed & Friday


  • Eat here: Vaughan’s Anchor Inn – easily the best seafood in County Clare


  • The Corofin Arms – Tuesday, Friday & Sunday
  • Campbell ’s – Tuesday
  • The Inchiquinn Inn – Friday


  • A little inland, but Kilfenora can rightly claim to be the capital ofthe trad music kingdom that is County Clare.
  • Linnane’s – sessions most nights, the Kilfenora Ceili Band (the ArcadeFire of trad music) play here on Wednesdays.
  • Vaughan ’s Pub – set dancing in the barn (no kidding!) – Thurs & Sunday, session in the pub on Tuesdays
  • Nagle’s – Sunday


  • McGann’s – 363 nights a year and weekend afternoons
  • McDermotts’s – 363 nights a year and weekend afternoons
  • O’Connor’s – 363 nights a year and weekend afternoons
  • Eat here: Cullinan’s Seafood Restaurant

Aran Islands

  • Tigh Jo Mac’s, Inishmore – sessions throughout the summer
  • Joe Whatty’s, Inishmore – live music all summer though not always trad
  • Tigh Ruairi – Inisheer – most nights during the summer
  • Tigh Ned’s – Inisheer – irregular nights during the summer
  • Eat here: Pier House, Kilronan

More famous for tangos and slow waltzes, however..

  • The Royal Spa Hotel – Thur to Saturday
  • Eat here: Sheedy’s Country House Hotel


  • O’Donoghue’s Pub – middle of nowhere bar where anything can happen,Saturday night ballad sessions. Sunday afternoon Irish dances, be ready.


  • Hyland’s Burren Hotel – Monday
  • O’Brien’s – Fri to Sunday


  • Carrigaholt: Fennell’s
  • Doonbeg: Morrissey’s Seafood Bar and Grill
  • Milltown Malbay: Berry Lodge and Cookery School
  • Lahinch: Barrtra Seafood Restaurant & Atlantic Hotel
  • Liscannor: Vaughan’s Anchor Inn
  • Doolin: Cullinan’s Seafood Restaurant
  • Inishmore, Aran Islands: Pier House
  • Lisdoonvarna: Sheedy’s Country House Hotel

Disclaimer: despite the fact that Authentic Ireland Travel is based in County Clare and all its’ Irish staff bar one are from this stupendously fantastic County, we have done our utmost to be critically impartial in our appraisal of its’ bountiful treasures. Hopefully our utmost was good enough, but only you can decide. Have fun out there!

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