Irish Traditional Musicians and Bands

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This page aims to point a curious listener or aspiring musician in the direction of quality Irish Traditional Music.

Martin Hayes

Regarded by many as the best Irish traditional fiddle player, Martin Hayes has a unique style of playing that has set him apart from his contemporaries. Born in the village of Maghera, near Feakle, in the eastern part of County Clare, Martin is the son of the much loved fiddler P. Joe Hayes, the longtime leader of the Tulla Ceili Band. The traditional music of east Clare is known for its slower and more lyrical style of playing, and Martin recalls being fortunate to have grown up surrounded by many talented musicians who embodied the east Clare style in their playing, and who communicated a profound respect and love for the music. The influence of the older generation--fiddlers like Martin Rochford and
Paddy Canny--is evident in Martin's playing, and yet Martin has elevated himself to a new level, winning two Senior All-Ireland Championships in the 1980's, and touring extensively around the world within the past few years. He currently has four albums out, and is now recording his fifth with guitarist Dennis Cahill.
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Martin Hayes


Lunasa is one of the hottest bands on the Irish traditional music scene. Their sound is unique within the world of Irish music, as the band is anchored by double bass player Trevor Hutchinson. Lunasa’s melody lines and harmonies are gracefully taken care of by flute player Kevin Crawford and fiddler Sean Smyth. The band has a five-album history thus far, and many have praised their most recent recording, “The Kinnitty Sessions,” for its return to the more raw, earthy sound that characterizes the group’s debut CD. “The Kinnitty Sessions” was recently recorded in front of a live audience inside Ireland’s Kinnitty Castle. A clear mark of Lunasa’s popularity is the fact that many of their tune sets are increasingly becoming standards within the contemporary Irish session scene.



Kevin Crawford


Altan is widely considered the best overall “super-group” to emerge from the world of Irish traditional music since The Bothy Band. Fueled by the stellar fiddle playing and vocals of Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Altan has brought worldwide recognition to the regional musical style of County Donegal. By far the greatest traditional band of the late 1980's and early 1990's, Altan continues to tour widely, and has recently incorporated diverse elements into its repertoire, performing a diverse range of songs and recording with artists such as Dolly Parton.

Michael McGoldrick

Mike McGoldrick is one of the best flute and whistle players on the traditional music scene today. He has rightly established himself as one of the most popular contemporary Irish Traditional players, and is credited with jump-starting the groups Lunasa and Flook in their early years. McGoldrick is equally talented on the pipes and bodhran, and is a fine composer of lovely tunes that quickly make their way into the traditional repertoire.

Below is a list of some other great contemporary Irish musicians on a variety of traditional instruments. You can search on the web or contact me with any questions regarding these musicians, their albums, or additional background information:


Tommy Peoples
Paddy Glackin
Paddy Canny
Andy McGann
Kevin Burke
John Carty
Liz Carroll
Liz Doherty
Brian Rooney
Siobhan Peoples
Pat O'Conner
Brian Conway


Matt Molloy
Seamus Tansey
Seamus Egan
Kevin Crawford
Brian Finnegan
Harry Bradley


Noel Hill
Mary MacNamara
Niall Valleley
Hugh Healy

Button Accordian

Joe Burke
Seamus Begley
Christie Leahy
Andrew MacNamara
Aiden Coffey

Uillien Pipes

Paddy Keenan
Diarmaid Moynihan


Mel Mercier
Johnny "Ringo" McDonagh
John Joe Kelly

Ensemble Groups


Album Cover

Michael McGoldrick

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