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How to get the best of Ireland’s premier traditional music festival

Here are five reasons why you need to head to Dublin to catch Ireland’s premier festival of traditional music.


Big Country at St Patrick’s Cathedral (Image Aaron Corr)


1. The line up

With a wealth of international acts, legendary names and upcoming talent, TradFest covers the entire spectrum of Irish traditional music, folk, nu-folk, world music and even a touch of rock and roll.
This year’s headline gigs include the likes of Andy Irvine, Lindisfarne, Kate Rusby and Carlos Núñez. 

Look out also for Grammy award-winning Kathy Mattea, the vocals of Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span, the Lost Brothers, renowned U.S. folk singer-songwriter and social activist Jim Page and a double bill with rising folk stars Loah and Sive.


2. The location

TradFest is centred around Temple Bar, Dublin’s renowned cultural quarter and creative hub, an area peppered with traditional pubs, art galleries and restaurants.

Wander through narrow cobbled lanes, chatting to fellow music fans and mingling with musicians and locals while discovering great spots around the city.


3. The Front Row Sessions

This year’s sessions will feature the likes of Stockton’s Wing, The Fureys, The Kilkennys, Paddy Casey, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, The Henry Girls and The Young Folk. Tickets are free, but must be booked in advance.


The Fureys (Image The Temple Bar Company)


4. The pure Irish vibe 

From Temple Bar to St Patrick’s Cathedral and City Hall, live music can be found in some of Dublin’s most atmospheric and historic places, offering a unique experience of Irish life.


5. Everything else

TradFringe events include a taste trail, exhibitions, film screenings, songwriting masterclasses and a music trail.

TradHub introduces new Irish music, TradKids offers plenty of family-friendly concerts and children’s trad sessions, while genealogy workshops run by the Irish Family History Centre let festival-goers explore their Irish roots.


TradFest runs from January 23 to 27.


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Written by: Jon Underwood
Published: 8 January 2019

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