Get creative in Ireland’s cities

Whether you love music, adore arts and crafts, or fancy yourself a connoisseur of food and drink, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to let your creative side shine in Ireland’s cities. 

Traditional music is a huge part of our culture. During a “trad” music session, musicians can carry on whole conversations with each other without ever speaking a single word. It’s all in the music – the call and response of flute and fiddle, the mournful wheeze of an accordion and the thrum of a bodhrán (an Irish drum) rumbling beneath it all.

Head along to Sin é in Cork City to hear it for yourself. This pub has been around since 1889, and still hosts music sessions daily. Tig Chóilí in Galway City and Kyteler’s Inn in Kilkenny City are two other popular music spots. The Belfast Music Trail allows you to experience traditional music while you explore the city. You’ll be greeted with a performance at each stop you make along the route and just tapping your foot to the music will make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger.  

Our cities express themselves through arts and crafts, too. In Belfast, the walls of the quirky Cathedral Quarter are covered in innovative murals. Follow Adam Turkington from the Belfast Street Art Walking Tour and you’ll learn to truly appreciate the extent of this city’s vibrant street art scene. 

Maybe you’ll be inspired by those brightly colored streetscapes to express yourself, so why not try an art class? Jean Ryan Hakiziman teaches painting, sketching and drawing in her studio in Limerick City. Or, you can let out those creative urges in NI Silver in Belfast city. There’s no experience necessary here as a goldsmith will guide you through the jewelry-making process from design to craft. 

There’s no better spot than Arran Street East in Dublin City if your interests run to pottery and weaving. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or know your way around the potter’s wheel, there are courses to suit everyone. For lovers of textiles, a visit to the Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum in Lisburn City is a must. Here, you’ll learn about the history and process of linen-making and its importance in the cultural and economic history of Northern Ireland. 

We’ve worked up an appetite after all that. Luckily, Ireland has a pretty creative food scene, which naturally makes the best of local, seasonal ingredients to create everything from Michelin-starred dishes to insanely tasty street food – all with an Irish twist. 

You can learn from the best and get some hands-on experience with chef patron JP McMahon, who leads cookery classes at the Anair Boutique Cookery School in Galway City. Lessons include Contemporary Irish Cooking and Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking. 

End your creative city break with a refreshing drink – that you distilled yourself! At the Gin School Experience at Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin City, you can learn the history of gin whilst creating your own in a mini copper pot still. Now THAT’S inspiring! 

Take in a traditional music session in Tig Chóilí, Galway city
Take in a traditional music session in Tig Chóilí, Galway city, © Tourism Ireland

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