Ireland: a musical journey

Karen Lin/Staff

As a music lover, I found Dublin, Ireland the perfect choice for studying and interning abroad. The Irish consider music great craic (“entertainment,” to those of you who’ve never spent time on the island). The Irish’s love for music has made the cities famous for their street performers and pub musicians and rightly so, as they’re alive with the constant sounds of guitars, fiddles and voices. No matter whether I’m in Dublin, Galway or Killarney, music fills the streets, brightening the atmosphere and adding to the romance of the already-splendid scenery.

What makes Irish music unique is the prevalence of traditional and folk music. Traditional Irish musicians are wildly energetic, flipping their hair, stomping their feet and fiddling until strands of hair dangle from their bow. Watching these performers play with such soul gives me hope that I can find passion in my own life. When I leave Ireland, I won’t forget the power of simple tunes such as “Molly Malone” or “Rare Old Times.” These songs are the most important souvenirs I’ll bring home.

If you’re ever visiting Ireland, here are some great places to watch talented musicians perform:



Most pubs have a tradition of boasting “live music every evening.” Some popular pub tunes include “Molly Malone,” “Wild Rover,” “Whiskey in the Jar” and “I’ll tell me ma.” I would recommend learning a few of these songs before going to Ireland, so that you can sing along in the pubs. Of course, the pub singers will play the typical top-40 pop songs. I’ve heard Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran more times than I could count.


Concert halls and theatres

Ireland has its fair share of orchestra concerts and musical theater. I most recently watched Once, an award-winning musical set in Dublin with quintessential Irish characters.


City streets

Irish buskers play anything from jazz to traditional Irish music to pop songs. They’re a common sight, especially in Dublin’s Grafton Street shopping area.



Away from the city

In the countryside and away from the bustling streets, sheep dot the landscape. Humans are a less common sight, but there are still dedicated musicians who frequent common tourist destinations and fill the air with beautiful music.



Contact Karen Lin at [email protected].