Galway is renowned for its music scene, and on visiting this coastal city, it’s easy to see why. Traditional Irish pubs, concert halls and historic theatres line Galway’s medieval streets, with live performances hosted every night of the week. With music genres ranging from traditional Irish to contemporary rock, performances here cater to every taste, and as Ashford Castle is located less than an hour from the city, discovering the best live music in Galway is incredibly easy. Here are some of our favourite venues to visit on your next trip.
The Crane Bar
The brightly coloured Crane Bar holds gigs upstairs every night at 9.30pm, with roots, country and blues singers frequently on the agenda. Downstairs, you can enjoy traditional, authentic music and drinks in a quintessentially Irish atmosphere, as you watch local performers take to the stage.
Head to the award-winning Monroe’s in the heart of Galway’s West End to see various artists from Ireland and further afield. The all-wood, traditional tavern plays host to live music every night of the week, though at the weekend things get a little livelier with entertainment across two stages.
Stained glass, Gothic arches, former pews and carved wood characterise the ornate interiors at this late night pub. Much of the décor has been taken from a French medieval church, which creates a unique backdrop for the rock ‘n’ roll and Irish Country and Western music performed here. Grab a bite to eat in the restaurant downstairs before heading up to the Music Hall for live entertainment.
Set on Eyre Square in the city centre, the recently refurbished An Púcán houses two live music stages. You can catch local cover bands alongside more traditional Irish music and DJs, which (together with the late-night closing time) draws in partygoers from Galway and beyond. For a truly Irish experience, book a whiskey tasting session, or try specialty dishes like Irish bacon and cabbage, from the extensive menu.
Tigh Fox Trad House
This traditional, grey stone pub should be high on your itinerary in Galway. A wood burning stove and custom made wooden bar make for a cosy atmosphere inside, and it’s made all the more enticing by daily acoustic and ballad sessions.
Local and international artists alike gather at Tigh Neachtain’s, a traditional pub that hosts live acts every Sunday. It’s also a hotspot for whiskey fans, with over 130 different types of whiskey from Ireland and beyond.
Irish ballads and folk music are the soundtrack at Taaffes, where you can watch daily performances in a historic building that dates back over 400 years. Sip on a Guinness and try some traditional food, as you take in the historic surroundings at this quaint, music-centric pub.
Delve into the history of live music in Galway at the family-run Tig Cóilí. Memorabilia and photos of past performers line the walls of the red pub, which hosts traditional shows every evening at 6.30pm and 9.30pm. It’s a popular haunt for tourists as well as locals, with people often spilling out onto the street on balmy summer days.
After a day spent enjoying live music in Galway, head back to Ashford Castle for a well-earned rest, and a nightcap at The Prince of Wales Bar, which offers excellent cocktails and rare whiskeys from across the region.
Image credits: Cover photo taken at the Traditonal Music Arts Festival in Galway © fanofbirdland / Flickr. Quay Street in Galway © Barnacles Hostel / Flickr. Monroe’s in Galway © Eoin Gardiner / Flickr. Galway’s old town © Alexey Zarodov / iStock. A musician in Galway © Flickr / Kate Elizabeth. The lively bar scene in Galway © Jacques van Dinteren / iStock.