Coming to Ireland from America, there were already a couple of Irish stereotypes in my head. The Irish are famous for their strong whiskey and purely brewed Guinness, their shamrocks and sarcasm, and of course…luck. But more than anything, being an American and going out in the city of Dublin, it is most noticeable that this is a land of music.
It is impossible to walk the streets of Dublin without stumbling into a bar with ridiculously talented live bands, playing mixtures of Irish tunes and well-known American jams. Even through the haze of a good drink, the music can rock you straight to your soul and bring a warm smile to your face.
On a regular Wednesday evening, I had a lovely time wandering around the city from open mic to open mic, checking out the city’s talent. Starting at a quite joint titled “The International”, located on Wicklow Street in the downstairs bar, we listened to many wonderful acoustic musicians, as well as a few spoken word and beat performances. Remaining very low key, it is a great place to enjoy a soft guitar and lullaby voices, or perhaps try out your own skills. Later, in the upstairs bar, a crowd gathered around a man playing an accordion, a guitarist and two beautiful jazz singers, taking on a sing along feel and sharing their heavenly gifts.
From there, we took it up a notch to a jam band style open mic bar titled “The Front Door,” located on Dame Street. Here we found some of the grooviest players I have ever met. With a mix of the Irish, English, American and other travelers, the mix of tone and style were incredible. With two drummers, a guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist, the mics were open to the bar for anyone to sing with the entire band backing them up… a set up I had never seen before. Riling up a bit of courage inside me, I stepped to the stage with one of my new found Irish friends to sing “Valerie,” and was welcomed with kindness and a badass beat.
On any simple Irish evening, you can hear beautiful Irish music in the streets. Whether it be a simple street performer or that Irish fiddle playing a jig you can’t help but dance to, this is a place where music has come to live wildly and free.