Going to Ireland without going to the local pub is sacrilegious!
Whether you’re in the heart of Dublin or the beautiful village of Kilsheelan, the pub is the center of life in Ireland. Not just for the Guinness or Jameson, or the author’s personal favorite – Bulmers (or Magners as it is known in the U.S.) – you go for the stories, the laughs, the football or hurling game, or simply the beautiful Irish smiles.
With thousands of pubs throughout Ireland, it’s not only a gathering place for drinks but for social events ranging from weddings to wakes, from baptisms to birthdays.
And the Irish pub has produced many great writers. Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Brendan Behan to name a few, used the pub as the centerpiece in their writings or by merely going to “the local” for inspiration.
Many a pub is also known for their “trad” (traditional) Irish music. Almost always free, the musicians are sometimes treated with a free drink by the owner. As a visitor to Ireland, listen with your soul and the hypnotic tunes will stay with you forever.
Age Is a State Of Mind
The title of the “oldest pub in Ireland” is held by Sean’s Bar in Athlone, County Westmeath which was established in the 10th century. It is truly an institution.
For more information on Sean’s Bar, check here.
Size Doesn’t Matter!
In the heart of Dublin, we find the ‘smallest’ pub in Ireland – The Dawson Lounge. A jem to find! But it’s not the size of the pub that matters; it’s the size of the heart. And Dublin has heart!
Read about The Dawson Lounge here.
The first love, the first time you had… well, you know where this is going.
My very first pub in Ireland will be in my heart and memory forever. The quaint, homey pub in Kilsheelan, County Tipperary called Nagles Bar and Guest Accommodation.
My first EVER Guinness was drunk at the end of this bar with my beautiful travel companion and daughter, Heather, and our beloved guide & friend, Joe Ormonde http://www.joeormondephotographyandtours.com/home.html.
Get more information on Nagles here.
A Few to Remember!
It is impossible to pick the “best of the best” when it comes to memorable Irish pubs, so here are just two more to put on the must-see list:
Brennan’s Criterion, Bundoran, Co. Donegal
Opened in 1900 and run by two elderly sisters, Patricia and the late Nan Brennan, the building is a charming old home housing the owners upstairs. There is a ban on television, music, and swearing – all to encourage conversation among the patrons.
For an interesting article from 2017 by the Irish Times on Brennan’s, go here.
Hargadon Bros, Sligo Town
Unique – is the best way to describe this establishment that began life as a ‘spirit grocer’ in 1868. Now it is known as a grocer, wine & spirit merchant. Everything from crooked shelves, antique whiskey jars, exquisite food, and trad music. A must-go-to establishment…
See more about Hargadon
Take It ALL In!
Whatever you choose to drink, wherever you choose to go – take time to enjoy it all:
…the smile on the bartender’s face when you walk in the door,
…old, worn wood where many an elbow has rested,
…sweet sounds of laughter filling the air,
…hearing the Irish brogue that can make you swoon,
and the perfect Guinness poured by years of practice.
The variety of sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of Ireland will excite you, fascinate you, and absolutely compel you to return. Come home to Ireland.
We touched on some of the most obvious and completely forgot some others! What about:
- The FOOD!
- The Trad(itional) Music!
- The lovely wool & lace!
- …and MORE!
Well, there’s always the next blog!