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Traditional Music in Belfast

Belfast’s vibrant pub culture thrives on live and traditional music. The birth place of musicians like Ruby Murray, Van Morrison and The Undertones, you can explore Belfast's broad musical tradition. 

You’ll find live music in venues across Belfast every night of the week, spanning many different styles, sounds and genres. Traditional Irish music is a full body experience: the upbeat tempos compel you to dance a jog, clap your hands and join in. And that's what trad music is all about, joining in and having some craic (fun)! You'll find trad music in many of Belfast's historic hostelries and traditional pubs, see our suggestions below.

The Belfast Gaeltacht Experience 

Groups of 18+ can enjoy a truly authentic experience of Irish culture at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich/ Enjoy dinner accompanied with live traditional Irish music and Gaelic songs followed by a display of traditional 'sean-nós' (old style) dancing. Learn the basics of Céilí dancing before finishing the evening taking your own first dance steps. Read more >>

The Dirty Onion

The Dirty Onion is said to be Belfast's oldest building with real Irish music & craic 7 nights a week. A former spirit warehouse, inside the low ceilings supported by exposed wooden beams and original brick walls throughout nod to the past. An Droichead delivers a varied music programme in the outlet seven nights a week. From open workshops in Bodhrán on Tuesdays, to live bluegrass on Thursdays – there is something for participators and spectators alike every night in The Dirty Onion. Read more >>

Fibber Magee's

Steeped in Irish tradition and packed to the rafters with little bits of history, Fibber Magee’s is the genuine article. Pull up a stool by the open fire and enjoy tunes of traditional musicians, every night of the week, in this snug bar at the back of Robinsons. Read more >>

The Belfast Céilí Experience

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The Céilí Dance is a fun way for everyone to experience Irish Dancing. Every 90 minute session has an experience 'Caller@ to walk you through the steps, two trad musicians providing the tunes and helpers to make sure you're in the right position. By the end you'll have danced famous sets such as 'The Waves of Tory', 'The Walls of Limerick' and 'The Siege of Ennis', and will receive a souvenir T-Shirt to prove that you've mastered the are of Céilí! Read more >>

The Belfast Traditional Music Trail

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With tow professional musicians as your guides, walk through cobbled alleyways, past famous landmarks and on to private bars in some of the city's oldest buildings. At each of the three stops you will be treated to a performance of traditioal tunes, songs and stories, all of which make up your own personal 'session'. Enjoy a local beer, cider, whiskey or Guinness while learning about the instruments, language, customs and hisotry that make up Ireland's vibrant music tradition. Trail takes place every Saturday, 5pm, from The Dirty Onion, tickets available at Visit Belfast Welcome Centre. Read more >>

The John Hewitt

The John Hewitt has become a popular venue for quality, live music with a close relationship with the arts in Belfast. The bar being very much traditional in style lent itself to traditional music sessions almost without planning. And from there its name was established as a venue for various styles of good, live music. The full house sign is seen regularly for gigs as diverse as Jazz, Ulster Scots Folk or Cajun and an open mic night on Mondays.  Read more >>

Belfast Pub Experience

Reserve a space on the ultimate pub experience for taking in the culture and craic that Belfast has to offer. Begin with a tasting session of local drinks including whiskey, gin, cider, beer and a local potato based vodka. Irish musicians, dancers and story tellers will regale you with the city's unique story and there will be a live Irish music session to finish. Belfast Pub Experience is run by Belfast Hidden Tours and runs on Friday and Saturday nights. Read more >>

Sunflower Public House

Visit the Sunflower for Gypsy swing on a Thursday and Trad sessions on a Sunday. Hearty bowls of stew are served on Fridays and Saturdays with fresh wheaten bread, which go hand-in-hand with pints of locally brewed ale from Hilden. Sunflower is a simple corner pub, it is free of gimmicks or themes, and it is one of the few remaining. It is instantly recognisable by the security cage on its front door, a relic from 1980’s Belfast. Read more >>

Kelly's Cellars

Kelly's has a rich musical heritage, and Irish musicians from all over Ireland and beyond often call in for a few tunes in a relaxed atmosphere. You'll find traditional music sessions at Kelly's Cellars on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 8.30pm and Saturday from 4.30pm. Please note, session times are subject to change. Read more >>

Fountain Tavern

Established on the site of the former Fountain Street National School, the Fountain Tavern was severely damaged during the blitz of 1941 and was demolished and rebuilt. Now a traditional pub with Tudor design, it has a warm and friendly atmosphere, serving premium beers, wines and spirits and fresh, locally sourced food. Here you’ll also find live music at the weekends, with traditional session musicians and folk singers on Fridays, from 9pm. Read more >>