The Guide: Live Music and Where to Find it

Posted by

YOUR Guide to: make the most out of your study abroad experience by travelling, learning, and living


Whether you’re in Scotland or Ireland, you can follow my guide to find some classic, traditional Scottish or Irish folk music which I know you’re dying to hear.


  • Sandy Bells – One of my favourites in Edinburgh is the wee corner pub called Sandy Bells where musicians pop in whenever they fancy a night of following along to traditional Scottish folk tunes with fellow fiddlers, pipers, banjo players, etc.
Sandy Bells, Edinburgh
  • The Royal Oak – Free live music every day!! I mean, what more could ya want?
  • The Ensign Ewart – The Ensign Ewart is the perfect place to visit to hear traditional Scottish music after a visit to the Edinburgh Castle, as it’s conveniently located only a few hundred yards down the Royal Mile. (Plus, fun fact – Ewart is my surname so, needless to say, ’tis my absolute fave spot in Edi)

    Ensign Ewart, Edinburgh
  • Captain’s Bar – Offering both traditional Scottish music as well as folk singing sessions, Captain’s Bar is a versatile and local fave.
  • Royal Mile – If you feel you’ve exhausted all of your options, you probably haven’t walked down the Royal Mile on the weekends. Let me tell ya, there are a plethora of pubs playing traditional Scottish music on a Friday or Saturday night, so take a stroll down the Royal Mile and allow your ears to lead the way!
  • RoyalMile
    Royal Mile, Edinburgh


  • The Scotia – Bc why wouldn’t the oldest pub in Glasgow (est. 1792!!) have live traditional Scottish music on repeat?
  • Sloans – Sloans hosts a Ceilidh band every Friday night and let’s be real, who doesn’t love the idea of a weekly Ceilidh?
  • sloans
  • The Ben Nevis – A local favourite hub, the Ben Nevis is home to Scottish folk sessions three nights a week.

St. Andrews


  • The Cobblestone – Not only is the Cobblestone a go-to for locals to listen to truly traditional Irish music, the family pub also offers music, dance, Ceilidh, and even history classes for anyone wanting to learn a wee bit more about the Irish culture.
  • O’Donoghues – Another local fave playing traditional Irish music seven days a week!!
  • The Northside – Both a local favourite as well as a great place for visitors to experience some genuine Dublin culture and folk tunes.
  • Temple Bar – If you’re ever at a loss for where to find some Irish tunes, take a stroll through the happening neighbourhood at Temple Bar any day of the week!
  • templebar
    Temple Bar, Dublin
  • For a full list of where to find traditional music in Dublin, visit


  • Taafes Bar – Taafes really seems like THE place to be in Galway as it offers traditional Irish music not once, but twice, every day!
  • taafes
  • The Crane Bar – A must-visit stop for music lovers, the Crane Bar is renowned in Galway for its nightly traditional music sessions.
  • Tigh Coili – Another classic, must-visit pub offering traditional Irish folk music in the centre of Galway.
  • Monroes Tavern – Not only does Monroes Tavern offer nightly traditional Irish music, but locals and visitors alike come together every Tuesday night for some traditional Irish set dancing. If I lived in Galway, I’d definitely be here every Tuesday night (likely making a fool of myself).


  • Sin é – Non-stop traditional Irish music, alllll night, seven days a week. Enough said.
  • De Barra’s – De Barra’s is renowned in the city of Cork for its traditional live Irish folk music so it is another must-visit!
  • The Oliver Plunkett – Not only is there live folk music after 10pm many nights of the week, but The Oliver Plunkett also offers traditional Irish dinner and a show with both music and dancers for an all-around authentic and exciting experience.

Disclaimer: Often, live music in Scotland and Ireland occurs in a pub or bar setting. This guide aims to encourage cultural experiences through music; you do not have to partake in the drinking culture to have a good time listening to traditional Scottish/Irish music in a pub.