Famous the world over, Irish traditional music and dance are something you don’t dare miss
Found the length and breadth of Ireland, traditional Irish music can be heard spilling out from pubs and venues across the country. A 2,000 year old tradition which has remained strong and vibrant. Irish traditional music began as an oral tradition, passed on from generation to generation by listening, learning by ear, and without formally writing the tunes on paper. This is a practice that is still encouraged today and students of traditional music are encouraged to pick up tunes they hear from others or to learn as they listen. It wasn’t until 1762 that tunes were officially written down for the first time and collectors began to travel the country compiling music that can still be viewed today. The tradition of collecting our music continues today in the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, the largest collection of traditional and folk music in the world.
Traditional Irish music events can take many different forms, from the ubiquitous impromptu pub “sessions” to large organized festivals which attract musicians and visitors from around the world.
A quintessential experience for any visitor to the Emerald Isle, particularly rural Ireland or anywhere along the west coast, is participating in what is locally known as a ‘trad sesh’, or a session of traditional Irish music in a local pub. This usually involves a handful of musicians all playing old folk songs on native instruments, ranging from slow, melancholy singing to the energetic and very fast paced type of music that most people around the world know to be ‘Irish’. Basically, it’s the modern version of the villagers crowding around the fireplace listening to the local musicians. It’s still equally as fun and spirited an affair, however; in fact, it may even be more rowdy now than it was then!
The history of Ireland is also the history of Irish Dance. The actual dates of its origin has never been determined specifically. However, Irish history is steeped in Druidic, Celtic and other religious history which affected the origins of Irish dance. For example, processionals in Druidic and Celtic religious practices required precision movement as do Irish reels and jigs. Today in Ireland there are céili’s held all over the country celebrating the traditional Irish dance, music, and storytelling. The huge success of Riverdance and Lord of the Dance has placed the traditional dances on international stages, encouraging people to partake in the dance and keep the tradition alive.
On your tour of Ireland, Get Away to Educate can organize a full itinerary which can include trips to see the best Ireland has to offer in music and dance. Take a trip to a local Trad session or learn how to Irish dance at a lively ceili. It’s all ahead of you!
We had a fantastic time learning three types of Irish dancing… Our instructor helpfully explained all of the steps slowly and was very patient. Before we knew it we were Irish dancing! We really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.