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Dublin, Ireland Musical Pub Crawl – An insider’s perspective!

By Mary Maguire

The jet lag and the hangover are history now, but the memories of a Saturday night Dublin City Musical Pub Crawl will live forever.

There are many different types of pub crawls to go on in Dublin, but for me this time, Irish music was the driving factor.

I killed two birds with one stone on this particular Saturday night in Dublin, as my daughter was celebrating her 21st birthday and my sisters & I wanted to give her a night to remember.

We found information about the Traditional Musical pub crawl beforehand, and were told to be at the Oliver St John Gogarty pub (in the Temple Bar area) by 7.30pm. The tour numbers are limited so we decided to get there an hour early, which enabled us to get our tickets straight away and enjoy a lovely pint of the black stuff while we waited.

The tour was led by two professional musicians who perform tunes and songs while telling the story of Irish music. After the introduction at Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, we began our walk to the first pub – The Ha’penny Bridge Inn. There was a room reserved for us there, so we made ourselves at home and enjoyed some more of the black stuff while the two musicians/tour guides took the stage and began our musical adventure.

They started asking us to introduce ourselves, i.e. our names and what country we came from. It was a truly international group with at least 7 different nationalities represented. I claimed to represent California, but my accent was quickly challenged!

Both tour guides sang, one played the guitar and the other played the fiddle and bodhran. They took us through all forms of Irish music (reels, jigs etc) as well as traditional ballads! They also took time in between tunes to explain the characteristics and the background of each song/tune.

After about an hour and a quarter at this pub, we set off to our next pub. It was a beautiful night in Dublin and to walk across the Ha’penny Bridge over The River Liffey with no wind or rain, was a wonderful feeling. The city was looking its best, for sure.

The next pub was called Brannigans. It is another old Dublin pub and again room was set aside for the group. They continued to play Traditional songs/music but focused more on Sessions – how they work, who can join in, and what they involve. Naturally enough, there were also very talented musicians within our tour group. No hesitation was needed – especially from a group of Norweigians, who jumped at the chance to bust out a Norwegian Folk Tune. Other nationalities followed and the music began to include all styles and genres.

After two and a half hours, the tour came to an end. Being Irish, I can say this Musical Pub Crawl was a legitimate Irish experience.

If you are going to Ireland and think that you have to travel outside Dublin to hear Irish Traditional music, think again! Dublin is full of it.

The website for this particular tour is www.discoverdublin.ie/musicalpubcrawl.html