A Week in Ireland

A Week in Ireland

Hello all!

We are planning a trip to Ireland, April 16-23. My fiancé (flute) and I (fiddle) are hoping to meet with local musicians and find some sessions to enjoy, and maybe even stay with some locals as we travel around. Here are our dates / locations / where we’re planning on staying each night:

Sunday Apr 16: Dublin
Monday Apr 17: Cork
Tuesday Apr 18: Limerick? or Ennis?
Wednesday Apr 19: Galway
Thursday Apr 20: Sligo
Friday Apr 21: Belfast
and back to Dublin on Saturday night.

We’ll be renting a car. I’ve already looked around and noted down the different session spots that show up on this website for these different days (of course!), but I wanted to post this here just in case anybody had a specific suggestion… or any other tips to share. Thank you!

Re: A Week in Ireland

Welcome Haley. I’d suggest spending more time in one spot to soak it up. I know you want to see everything but maybe leaving your plans open with a rough idea? I’d also prefer one central location like Clare or Galway where then branch out on day trips. Otherwise u might spend a lot of time driving if u r getting up and going everyday. U left no time for Guinness, my goodness.

Some ppl need plans so i understand if my advice is rubbish. For that time of year, u prob won’t need reservations and could just flow with the wind, or rain : )
Unless there is some conventions I’m unawares of.

im jealous, wish it was me going. Ask anywhere where the music is and they will know or know somebody who knows where it’s at. My only advice is give yourself time to wander.
And time for Guinness, my goodness

Re: A Week in Ireland

Someone’s going to say it, so I guess it might as well be me: you’ve got way too much on your plate. I’d pick a couple destinations and focus on those; otherwise you’re going to spend more time going between places than in them. And while some of the driving in Ireland is quite picturesque, the weather is often uncooperative and many roads are much smaller (and slower) than their equivalents in other countries.

For my money, I’ll give you two basic itineraries. One would be to go south, spend a couple days in Cork, a couple in Kerry, and a couple in Clare (Ennis or Doolin would be your best bet for music, but there’s stuff all over). This is a very scenic area of the country, and driving around West Cork, the Beara Peninsula, the Kerry Way, Dingle, and the coast of Clare gives many stunning outlooks.

Another would be to head north to Belfast, then skip on down to Sligo and then Galway. A bit more driving, but especially for flutes you’d be in the thick of it. The lakes around Fermanagh and Leitrim are supposedly lovely, and all three cities offer many sessions to choose from most nights of the week.

Both would mean less time driving like mad just to make it to the next stop and more time to explore the regions. You’d also have the opportunity to go to multiple sessions in a location, which you’d miss if you hit a town a night. What happens when you sit in on a good session only to be told that tomorrow there’s a really good one on? This gives a bit more time to “mix with the locals” in each locale.

On a side note, I see you’re living up near Cassel. I have biked through there a couple of times, as an ancestor of mine is buried in Ebblinghem Military Cemetery. I remember Cassel as the one hill in the area, which is otherwise quite easy to bike through. It did give me a good vantage point to spot the twin tower structure in Ebblinghem that I used as a landmark… Lovely area.

Re: A Week in Ireland

I’ve been a few times and the next time I go I will focus on Dublin, Galway and Ennis. Mostly Ennis. Brogan’s in Ennis has great trad but I hear much less since they remodeled. Still, Miltown Malbay and Lisdoonvarna, and Lahinch are close by. One of my favorite trad groups headed Eoin O’Neill (https://www.facebook.com/eoin.oneill.31) play everywhere in this area.

Can beat being close to Dingle, the Burren and the Cliff of Moher, either.

Re: A Week in Ireland

Leave out Sligo& Belfast. Enjoy the rest. Otherwise you’ll need a rest!
I love Sligo and I love to go fishing around Galway and Mayo. I live 25 miles from Belfast. Trust me! You’re planning too much travelling!

Re: A Week in Ireland

What everyone says. If sessions are the main focus of your trip, you could probably spend a week in any one of those places and not get bored. No doubt, you want to see a few different places as well - but a few hours (once you’ve taken off driving time, sleep etc.) in each place doesn’t give you much opportunity to see anything. If it were me, I would probably choose three of those places and spend 2 days in each.

Re: A Week in Ireland

Looks perfect, Haley. Just extend it by ten days and make excuses if anyone expects you home before mayday.


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Re: A Week in Ireland

Ha! I had a feeling that would be the advice I would get 🙂 we’ve been around Ireland a few times before, and visited several of these spots already. But there are definitely some good points here! I guess for this American, the thought of driving 2-3 hours every day doesn’t seem exaggerated ;)

I should specify that we have to stay in Dublin on Sunday night and we have to stay in Belfast on Friday night (friends to see / sessions to go to that are already planned).

It looks like we should cut it down to 2 stops in between Dublin at the beginning of the week and Belfast at the end. Cork, Clare… Sligo… hmmm.

Bigsciota, Cassel is definitely the Hilly Country of the North. It is a lovely area. But to bike here, you have to be mad! Or a pro. 🙂

Re: A Week in Ireland

If you have to go to Belfast, then cutting out Cork would give you a lot of extra time. Granted, driving in Ireland now is a lot quicker than it was 10-15 years ago, when the motorway network was still in its embryonic stages. But whilst Cork has a motorway link to Dublin, it’s still mostly small roads going NW out of Cork - and all the way up the west side of the country.

If you were to drive straight to Galway and base yourselves there for a couple of days, you’d have all the music you could wish for in the city itself, and you’d be within easy reach of Co. Clare for an evening trip. You could even make a couple of non-musical day trips to places like The Burren or Connemara.

Re: A Week in Ireland

I recommend the Cobblestone for Sunday night in Dublin. Paul O‘Shaughnessy’s session starts at approx. 7pm and lasts until 9. Good session after too and that one ends at closing time. If you are in Cork, I’d recommend the Spailpín Fánach in Cork city. In Galway, the Crane Bar or maybe Tigh Coilí’s. If you are back in Dublin on the Saturday, there’s an early evening session in O‘Donoghue’s, Merrion Row. Also that evening you could try McNeils in Capel Street (used to be a music shop…now a pub). Very small and gets very crowded, so you could try Hughes in Chancery Street, just up the road. If you still have the energy, go back to ’The Cobbler’ later on! Enjoy your trip. I’m a trad-style singer and verse-maker, so you may just hear me at one of te Dublin venues!