Now I know we can enjoy the music in our kitchen, on the street at a Fleadh, while waiting at a Bus Stop etc etc, but for many of us, the ideal venue is a great wee corner of an atmospheric old Pub, so I thought it might be an idea for us to start gathering up a collection of photos of our favourite Session Pubs.
 
With the dreaded recession that has hit Ireland, who knows how many of them will still be around in 10 years time.
 
If possible, post a photo of the exterior plus one of a typical session & please feel free to add a website link if it has one, plus a few details on the music, musicians, drink, punters etc etc.
 
To start the ball rolling, this is my own favourite local Session Pub:
The House of McDonnell
Established in 1766
History
Session Blog















The Front Bar:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A typical Session in full swing:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I've been sessioning here, every Friday night now for neary 20 years, so it feels more like my front room.

Luckily for me, it has all the qualities I look for in an ideal Session Pub, hard floors & walls so the music is bright & lively, a long history which adds to the great atmosphere & helps to make the old tunes feel just right, a small cozy playing area which means you can never have too many musicians involved & last, but certainly not least, a host who dearly loves the music & likes nothing better than to meet new musicians & welcome them to join in.

The sessions consist mostly of Irish Tunes, but given it's geographic location at the North East tip of Ireland, we probably end up playing more Scottish tunes here, than at most Irish Sessions. We also enjoy playing as much variety as possible, so we don't stick to that old boring fare of Reels plus an odd Jig, that ruin so many sessions. Join us & you'll end up playing Reels & Jigs for sure, but also Slip Jigs & Hop Jigs & Flings & Mazurkas & Waltzes & Polkas & Slides & Marches & Planxtys & Airs etc etc

Songs are always welcome too, but party songs are never ever tolerated, nor do we ever discuss religion or politics, that way everyone should always feel welcome.

 

Cheers

Dick

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Dick,

 

We're touring Ireland by rental vehicle starting 29 September; will head north from Dublin and go around the island for however far we can get during our three week stay. We hope to make as many pub sessions as we can, but, unless I overlooked it, I don't see where this pub is located. I understand sometimes places can be a challenge to locate so any help would be appreciated. BTW, I play the bodhran in our local session in Casper, Wyoming USA.

 

PS. I'd love to hear of other recommended sessions in Ireland. We will be there from 29 September to 19 October, spending the last three nights in Dublin.

Hi Michael,

Yes, if you check out the two links I posted, you'll find out all the info. you need i.e.:

The House of McDonnell
Established in 1766
History
Session Blog

Here's a link to a map of the N. E. corner: MAP

You'll see that Ballycastle is at the N. E. tip of Ireland, about 10 miles East of the Giant's Causeway.

If you check that Session Blog, you'll get links to my other sessions up here. The best is the one I posted here, Tom's, which happens on a Friday, but the others are on Monday (Portstewart), Thursday (Portrush) & Saturday nights (Bushmills).

Most folks heading this way drive up the scenic coast road from Belfast, up through Glenarm & Cushendall.

If you have any more questions, just ask away.

Once you get up here, feel free to give me a shout on 07913075848.

Cheers,

Dick

Hi Michael,

 

We do a session every Thursday night in Dublin but it looks like your last three nights in Dublin are a Mon,Tues, Wed based on the above dates. Let me know if this changes.

 

Tony

Michael Braley said:

Dick,

 

We're touring Ireland by rental vehicle starting 29 September; will head north from Dublin and go around the island for however far we can get during our three week stay. We hope to make as many pub sessions as we can, but, unless I overlooked it, I don't see where this pub is located. I understand sometimes places can be a challenge to locate so any help would be appreciated. BTW, I play the bodhran in our local session in Casper, Wyoming USA.

 

PS. I'd love to hear of other recommended sessions in Ireland. We will be there from 29 September to 19 October, spending the last three nights in Dublin.



Dick Glasgow said:

Hi Michael,

Yes, if you check out the two links I posted, you'll find out all the info. you need i.e.:

The House of McDonnell
Established in 1766
History
Session Blog

Here's a link to a map of the N. E. corner: MAP

You'll see that Ballycastle is at the N. E. tip of Ireland, about 10 miles East of the Giant's Causeway.

If you check that Session Blog, you'll get links to my other sessions up here. The best is the one I posted here, Tom's, which happens on a Friday, but the others are on Monday (Portstewart), Thursday (Portrush) & Saturday nights (Bushmills).

Most folks heading this way drive up the scenic coast road from Belfast, up through Glenarm & Cushendall.

If you have any more questions, just ask away.

Once you get up here, feel free to give me a shout on 07913075848.

Cheers,

Dick

 

Hello Dick,

 

And thank-you for the clarification. I hovered over "The House of McDonnell" instead of  "History" and "Session Blog." My mistake. The session looks and sounds wonderful. We will plan to be there on Friday, 30 September. On Thursday, we will be staying in Ardee, Co. Louth so hopefully, can enjoy a leisurely drive to Ballycastle, my first full day of driving in Ireland. That being the case, would you recommend going through or around Belfast? Also, do you have any recommendations for a B&B or other accommodation in Ballycastle, maybe something convenient to "Toms." I'll save your phone number and look forward to seeing you in a few weeks. 

 

Michael

Hello Michael,

Regarding accommodation, here are a couple of sites which might be of help. Both sites are well worth exploring, for lots of great photos & info on this region.

 

Causeway Coast & Glens: Accommodation

 

Ballycastle B&B Accommodation

 

You'll meet our resident Bodhran maker at the Friday night session in Tom's: Paul McAuley: Irish Bodhrans

He's a Ballycastle man born & bred, so he might be able to give you advice regarding the best B&B.

As for Belfast, I'm not a big fan of cities, traffic, one-way systems, finding parking etc etc. If it were me I'd just keep on the main roads & drive straight through. There is no ring road, so you'll get a feel for it anyway, as you drive through.

By the way, we had 2 Fiddles, Uilleann Pipes, C#/D Melodeon, Flute, Guitar & Bodhran at the session last night ... great music.

Cheers,

Dick

Hello, Dick. Hope the new year is treating you well. 

I saw a video of a session at House of McDonnell on an RTE feed that streams over here. It's just bits and pieces from RTE programs. The video is no longer available on what I can access but I think is was from back in the late 80's, and I remember a couple of lady fiddlers. Just watching the video sure brought back a flood of good memories. Many's the time I wished we could have attended the sessions you told us about. But, we were in such a hurry to see "all" of Ireland. Oh, I believe the program on RTE was called "Come West Along the Road." I'm still playing my bodhran at our weekly session which is tonight ... best night of the week. Say "Hi" to Paul for me.

Hi Michael, yes the House of McDonnell has been featured on TV a few times. Sadly, there are not many of those genuine & authentic old pubs left any more. I'll pass on your message tomorrow night at our Portrush session. Cheers, Dick

I could sure sell my soul to be there.This look very friendly. I also like going to some Irish pubs to listen to the Irish music. Of course in my neck of he wood, folklore music also enter the performance. I find that as you travel out of Ireland, the performances take some changes but never lose their originality.I sometimes use concertina to complement my performance. You would be amazed to see how many people get mesmerized by this instrument after they are shown that it is different from an accordion.

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