Trad Music at Gogarty’s

What better way to spend your Friday night in Dublin, Ireland than to visit the famous Temple Bar? Of course, if you’re seeking great traditional Irish music, you’ll have to first weave your way through a raucous crowd of rugby fans and then make your way up a narrow staircase to the second floor, to Gogarty’s Bar & Restaurant.

When we arrived at Gogarty’s, our group of nine was one of three or so small clusters of people in the space. Music had already begun, cranked through speakers by a trio wielding an acoustic guitar, banjo, and fiddle. Being young and largely American (one of us was from the Czech Republic), we immediately attracted the attention of the boisterous lead, who enjoyed engaging us in his songs and banter for the rest of the night. The atmosphere was lively and the music was downright phenomenal!

Sketches of our Band
Sketches of the three-man band playing at Gogarty’s: acoustic guitar/voice, banjo, and fiddle; also includes an audience member, wearing one of the Gogarty’s hats strewn on the tables (bottom right)

As I drew, my stroke with the vibrancy of the music – at one point, the musicians were playing a reel and I found my pen swiping somewhat spastically, in short energetic bursts across the page. Drawing a fiddler is not an easy task, especially when she is playing a quick-tempo jig, and her audience is equally mobile, but I managed.

Gogarty’s Audience – the crowd enjoying the great traditional Irish music

There are few things more satisfying as an artist than for one of the people you’re drawing to come over, see your sketch, and exclaim excitedly, “That’s me!” as Mike, the young man in hoodie (in the drawing above) did. The couple depicted in the bottom left sketch were especially captivating to me, sitting very contentedly listening to the lively music, enjoying one another’s presence and the atmosphere of the pub.

A great night and a fantastic way to start a week travelling around Ireland!


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