A friend recently announced on Facebook he is heading to Dublin in a few weeks. There were a lot of virtual thumbs ups and “have a Guinness for me!” comments that flooded his wall. It seems people get excited about Ireland, no matter what their lineage. I promised I would send details about some of the pubs we had found while in the city.
As I dove into pictures from my trip to help aid the memory banks, I posed the question to Husband. “What were the best pubs in Dublin?” His response – “There were no bad pubs in Dublin.” True. Every pub in Dublin has a little something different to offer, including a unique experience.
What was originally going to be a direct Facebook message to my dear friend with a list of our favorite pubs, turned into a full blog post. So Richard, this is for you. Sláinte!
The Celt Pub at 81 Talbot Street Dublin 1 has the traditional interior ambience of rural Ireland just blocks from Connolly Station, which is a main hub for both buses and trains. This small pub hosts live music seven days a week in a tiny corner that sits across from the bar. The Celt is situated in a popular area of hostels and inexpensive B&Bs, so the crowd (and sometimes musicians) are either wandering youth, looking to experience Ireland at her finest, or laborers getting off work, complete with sweat and dirty boots.
O’Shea’s Merchant at 12 Lower Bridge Street in South Dublin is across the street from the famous Brazen Head pub. The Brazen Head, while the epitome of Irish pub cool on the inside, did not make my list because the tourists outnumber the Irish. While I recommend seeing the Brazen Head, spend time in O’Shea’s Merchant. Traditional Irish music is the name of the game, and spontaneous dancing by patrons averaging around the age of 60 is a common sight.
This pub is in a working class neighborhood of Dublin, just around the corner from the Jameson and Powers Distilleries at 77 North King Street, Dublin 7. The Backroom hosts local musicians from folk, country and roots genres. Seek out a bluegrass session to see how the Irish spin something that is distinctly American. No matter what night you are at the Cobblestone, you’re guaranteed plenty of foot stomping.
If you are looking for a different beer experience other than Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp or Murphy’s, Ireland does have a few microbreweries. For a taste of how the Irish interpret brews other than dark porter, there is a microbrewery worth a try:
This brewing company has five establishments, and we visited the one in the Temple Bar neighborhood, skipping the more touristy Temple Bar Pub. Located at 16-18 Parliament Street in Temple Bar, the three-story brewhouse has nine mirco beers on tap and one seasonal. Crowded and popular with the younger set, it is still easy to belly-up to a copper kettle drum (right there as decoration in the bar) and sample a flight of your favorite styles. Messrs Maguire is another brewhouse that a true beer geek might want to try, but it didn’t get as high of ratings as Porterhouse during our visit. You can find Messrs Maguire at the foot of the O’Connell Bridge, Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.
And finally, the pubs that didn’t make my list but are worth noting ~
Brazen Head: It was established in 1198. It has dirt floors. Those two facts alone help you look past the Italian and Japanese tourists sitting next to you.
The Church Bar: This is truly a bar in a former church. Elegant and grand, with the pipe organ still in place in the choir loft overhead, the beer selection is poor, and some might consider it sacrilegious to drink in a former place of worship. But its a spectacle to behold.
The Temple Bar: Probably the most recognized pub in Dublin, stop in just to say you had a Guinness there. Or take a picture and say you had a Guinness there. No one will know.