Buskers on Grafton Street in Dublin - Noel Cosgrave - cc
Buskers on Grafton Street in Dublin - Noel Cosgrave - cc

In Ireland, there is a term for street musicians and bands: “Busking”! Indeed, street performances are deeply rooted in Irish culture: they can be found everywhere, in all the big cities, and it usually causes a sensation! Whatever the style, the number of participants, and the instruments, this 100% Irish tradition is to be experienced at least once: attending a “wild performance” gives all the Irish soul to cities like Dublin, Belfast or Cork!

Attend Busking

A bit of music in the streets: a typically Irish tradition!

Before talking about this great Irish tradition, let’s explain a little bit about the meaning of the word “Busking“.

It is simply a free public performance in the street, mostly musical. The musicians who take part in it are usually called “Buskers” in the jargon of the regulars.

They usually don’t have official permission to play, but this is generally tolerated by the Irish authorities as long as the sound level remains acceptable (it is possible to play with amps: it’s all about volume). It must be said that in the Irish society, this kind of “show” is rather appreciated!

Buskers often compete in inventiveness to stand out: atypical musical instruments, artistic show, dance, make-up… Everything is good to attract attention and make passers-by discover their talent!

Also, busking usually attracts a lot of people: the crowd gathers around the musician(s), which sometimes creates real traffic jams for pedestrians! A good time is usually had, and the musicians can be rewarded with a small coin for the spectators wishing to thank them.

Buskers now famous

In Ireland, music is such an important part of everyday life that it is very common to see a busker’s success on the street capable of propelling him to the top!

For example, you should know that Bono started with Busking, just like Damien Rice: they were so popular in their performances that they caught the attention of the big record companies!

Even better: it’s not uncommon to see Bono on the streets of Dublin to start a little improv! Would he be nostalgic for those first hours on public stage?

Popular places for Busking

In Ireland, the popular areas of the big cities are usually the favourite places for street bands.

Dublin, Galway, Cork, Belfast…There are some in every city and in a variety of styles ranging from traditional Irish, to rock, to pop and rap!

If you go through Dublin, you will have more chance to find them in the following areas: