Produced by

An Irish Musical Tradition

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Irish “sessions” are intimate group performances that take place in pubs all over New York City. Based in the traditional Irish “seisiún,” these informal musical gatherings feature jigs, reels, hornpipes, and the occasional waltz.  Writer and Vogue contributing editor Robert Sullivan and writer-musician Larry Kirwan of the Irish rock band Black 47 explain the history and vibrant present of the tradition.


Larry Kirwan and Robert Sullivan

Comments [10]


For a comprehensive session listing, go to:

Jan. 13 2011 10:33 AM
Rich from New Jersey

There is a great session on Mondays @ 8:30 at Spike Hill, 184 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. Rotating hosts, pretty advanced playing. For a good list of sessions and times, go to Thanks, John, for giving this some exposure.

Dec. 25 2010 02:14 PM
Charlie from nj

Slight correction on St. James Gate Maplewood NJ session--it runs from 2 to 5 on Sundays (but it won't be happening on 12/26).

Dec. 23 2010 09:54 AM
lafou from nyc

Thanks for this segment. In the mid-90's I was at Oliver St. Gogerty's in Temple Bar and heard the most amazing group of players. Afterward in Galway, I asked a record store owner to sell me the best representation of traditional music & he gave me "The Bothy Band 1975." It is awesome.

Dec. 23 2010 07:06 AM
Bronx dude

for those of you who want to stay outta the hustle and bustle of Manhattan there are two great seisiuns in the Bronx on Sundays. One is at An Beal Bocht Cafe (Riverdale) from 4-7pm and the other is held at The Rambling House in Woodlawn from 7pm till late. Open to ALL musicians. The pretty much don't STRESS anything.

Dec. 23 2010 01:30 AM

There is a great Thursday evening session at Cyprus Avenue pub in Park Slope, Brooklyn on 5th Avenue and Bergen Street.

Here is the master calendar lots of use for sessions:

Dec. 22 2010 02:23 PM
Eric from Manhattan

Sheriff Bob has one at Grizzley Pear (although its more bluegrass and "old time")... but there is a smaller group up in front who plays more Irish music.

Dec. 22 2010 02:21 PM
John Nevin from New York City

I run of the longest running, open sessions in NYC, and other stuff too. I appreciate the exposure on your program. I encourage people to drop in on DEMPSEYS every TUES night at 8PM (google dempseys nyc). We get most of the "big names" passing through our session, and while that is great, I really want to emphasize the "tradition" of passing on this music from one generation to another in an open and friendly manner. I cannot speak for what others do, but I can tell you that we strive to welcome people at DEMPSEYS and hope to see you there soon!

Dec. 22 2010 02:14 PM

St. James Gate in Maplewood NJ has great seisiuns on Sundays from 4 - 6pm.

Dec. 22 2010 02:10 PM
Shapiro from Brooklyn

Please tell us where to find "seisiúns" - especially in Brooklyn. (Mention your favorite specific places of course - but also please -what web sites or publications might be a good source of up-to-date information/ calendars) Mr. Sullivan's article mentions a few places in Manhattan but none in Brooklyn. Thank you very much!

Dec. 22 2010 01:12 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.