Playing in the Pub: Snapshots and Studies


For as far back as we have evidence, singing traditional songs and playing traditional music in public houses have been part of Irish culture, especially on fair-days and other communal occasions and among Irish emigrant groups abroad. This trend grew with increased prosperity from the 1960s, until it is nowadays taken by newcomers to the music that pub sessions are almost synonymous with the practice of Irish traditional music.

The selection of photographs of playing the music in pubs presented here from the collections of the Irish Traditional Music Archive come from a variety of social occasions, from the rare fleadhanna ceoil of the 1950s to the more common festivals and summer schools of more recent decades. From the circumstances of the events, the pictures are usually snapshots taken on the fly, and more considered studies of pub sessions are uncommon and usually stiff and unconvincing.

With thanks to donors of photographs Maura McConnell, William Mullen, Tom Maree, Liam McNulty & Mark Jolley, and also to Fáilte Ireland for permission to reproduce photographs from its collection. ITMA would welcome indentification of musicians unknown to it in these photographs. Contributions please to [email protected].

NC & TH, 1 December 2014

Playing in the Pub: Snapshots and Studies