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Arts and Culture for Expats in Ireland

Submitted: October 2014

Music and Dance

One of Ireland’s greatest cultural contributions to the world is Irish folk music and the dances that accompany it. Even today, you can walk into many pubs around Ireland and find traditional folk musicians entertaining an audience with tunes that have been passed down for 150 years or more. Here is an example of a folk band playing at an Irish bar for the patrons. Festivals such as Ballyshannon in Donegal aim to keep this tradition alive, and provide fans of Irish folk from around the world with opportunities to see their favourite artists.

If you want to try Irish dance yourself, there are many dance schools with instructors around the country which can be found either in larger schools such as the Cabe Academy or smaller local schools. This website provides a list of smaller dancing schools along with information on feiseanna, the dance competitions held both in Ireland and abroad. Or, you can start by having a look at this instructional video on the first steps in Irish dance.

Of course, if Irish folk is not your preferred genre, there is plenty more to choose from. Ireland has made a contribution to popular music that is vastly disproportionate to its size. Artists such as U2, Van Morrison, the Cranberries, Thin Lizzy and Clannad have all hailed from Ireland among many others. Dublin has important venues such as the O2, Academy and Olympia Theatre, but there are also smaller and more intimate experiences to be found, such as the 380 person capacity Dolan’s in Limerick.


Museums and Art Galleries

Ireland is home to a whole host of museums, from the National Museums in Dublin and Castlebar to the first public library in Ireland, Marsh’s. Alternatively, visit the Science Museum or National Botanic Gardens, which contain a herbarium and historic glasshouses along with over 300 endangered species in their living collection. For a comprehensive Association list of all Irish museums and places of historic value, including location and contact details, visit this link.

Art galleries in Ireland include the National Gallery, home to a rich stockpile of European and Irish fine art, with a collection that includes famous Irish artists such as Jack B. Yeats and portraits of many seminal Irish figures. For those looking for more contemporary art, there is the Irish Museum of Modern Art or the well-respected Douglas Hyde Gallery within Trinity College Dublin. The number of resident artists, musicians and writers in Ireland has flourished recently, partly due to an exemption of income tax on the first €40,000 earned from the sale of their work, helping the creative to earn a decent living while producing their work.




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