Want to know where to find music in Ireland? Well its pretty much everywhere if you look for it. Most pubs have a section that is earmarked for musicians who come to play, and people know to leave those areas open for when the musicians show up. Some pubs are known to have music on a somewhat regular basis while others just put out a sign that says ”Music tonight” when they know someone will be in to play.
Most pubs that have music on a regular basis have 2–3 people that they pay to play. However, there are also a lot of musicians out there who play for the love of it. They are kind of like minstrels of old. Fellow musicians will let their friends in other towns know when they’ll be around and suddenly there are 8 people playing at the pub.
Mind you these musicians are not people like your cousin who might have learned piano with Mrs. Crowley when he was 8. These are serious musicians who have been playing since they were probably 4 years old and can play multiple instruments. Unlike the U.S., learning music is something that is valued and most children learn to play in Ireland.
They are really fabulous to watch. And if they ever begin to sing, all talking stops – or you will be beat quiet by those listening. This is serious music and this is serious singing, you do not talk over it. Now, of course, this is a little different from pub-to-pub, depending on how touristy it is and if its modern music vs. traditional music. If you are unsure which kind of place you are in—I would opt for sitting quietly and gauging the crowd and then follow suit.