From traditional folk music venues to bouncing nightclubs, Ireland’s nightlife scene is varied, diverse, and good-natured. The locals are welcoming, the music gets you dancing, and the drinks are affordable (for the most part – we’re looking at you, Dublin), then what’s not to love? Whether you’re looking for your next stag or hen do location, or you’re just after a boozy night out in one of Ireland’s many vibrant cities, here’s where to go for the best nightlife in Ireland.
Best Nightlife in Ireland
Capital cities tend to have some of the best nightlife in the country, and Ireland is no different. There’s something for everyone, from smoky cocktail bars to underground clubs, but it’s the traditional Irish pubs that make Dublin so special. There are around 772 pubs in Dublin, so you certainly won’t go thirsty. You’re bound to find somewhere lively off Dublin’s main street, O’Connell Street. Parnell Street, Abbey Street, and Capel Street are lined with lively pubs and bars. For a good old Irish singalong to traditional music, the city is teeming with places that will usually have a group session going on – there’s Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, The Brazen Head, The Ha’penny Bridge Inn, The Cobblestone, The Celt, Brannigan’s, and many more. However, if cocktails and chic interiors are more your thing, you’ll find them on South William Street, George’s Street, Camden Street and Harcourt Street
Cork is a bustling, vibrant university packed with young people looking for the best nightlife in Ireland. Bars, pubs, and nightclubs are in the hundreds. It’s also fairly affordable (especially in comparison to Dublin), thanks to its large student population. You’ll find most of the hotspots along the North/South Main Street axis, but there’s more to be discovered off the main thoroughfare. And considering the city’s long history, there are some interesting, historical spots, including the Mutton Lane Inn, which opened in 1780. Another favourite is Jim Cashman’s Pub, where you can chow down on Irish stew while listening to traditional live music.
If you want to go all out and dance the night away in a superclub, head to SoHo Bar, located on the Grand Parade. There’s different music across all four floors, so you’re sure to find something to tickle your fancy. Bodega Nightclub and Havana Browns are two more institutions in Cork’s nightlife scene.
When visitors think of Galway, their mind probably springs to the song Galway Girl by Steve Earle (NOT Ed Sheeran!). So, as you can imagine, there is a big traditional folk music scene in the vibrant city of Galway. It embodies Irish hospitality and culture – wherever you go in Galway, you’ll be met with a warm welcome. And if traditional Irish music is what you’re after, head to An Púcán. The tradition is strong in this pub, with folk music playing daily. Not only is it great for music, but it’s also got a great selection of 150 whiskeys along with craft beers and boutique wines. Other traditional music bars include the Crane Bar, Taaffes Bar, Tiġ Chóilí, but really, there are too many to list. You’ll likely hear them before you see them.
Listening and dancing along to traditional music is a blast, but if you fancy more of a contemporary night out, you can find that in Galway too. You’ll find most clubs located in the city centre near Eyre Square, including Halo, DNA, and Electric Garden.
The medieval town of Kilkenny might not be the first place that comes to mind for having some of the best nightlife in Ireland, but its endless sprawl of pubs has earnt it a place on this list. Kilkenny thrives on culture and tradition, which you can feel in its pubs and bars. Old-world pubs like Matt the Millers, Bridies, Lenehan’s, the Field, Andrew Ryan’s, and so many more, make this place so special. There’s so much history in the churches and monasteries around Kilkenny, and the pubs are no different. The Hole in the Wall is proudly the oldest surviving townhouse in Ireland, having originally opened in 1582 under the name Archer Inner House, and Kytelers Inn also proudly stakes its claim as one of the oldest inns in Ireland, first established in 1324.
Although the pub scene in Kilkenny is brilliant, there is more to the city’s nightlife than that. Brogan’s Yard is a fantastic cocktail bar, the Dylan Whiskey Bar has an extensive and impressive collection of fine whiskeys, and Langtons is the place to be for late-night dancing.
Limerick is one of the biggest cities in Ireland – a quirky, artsy, exciting city. When it comes to nightlife, you can find everything from cosy pubs to booming nightclubs. The fun sprawls across the city, but you’re sure to find it in city’s Market Quarter. It’s jam-packed with pubs and bars, including Nancy Blakes, White House Bar, and House. If it’s traditional Irish live music you’re after, you’ll find it in Dolan’s, Smyths Bar, and the Locke Bar. But if quiet pints in a candle lit pub are more your thing, the cosy pubs of Tom Collins and W.J. Souths fit the bill. While the pub scene is strong in Limerick, you can find plenty of places to dance ’till dawn, too. Nightclubs like Amber, Angel Lane, Club Night 33, and Opium are always bouncing on the weekends.