"Actually, I'm a drinker with writing problems." - Brendan Behan
"In Dublin, you're never more than twenty paces from a Pub." - old Dublin saying.
I am half Irish and have always felt a strong tendency toward that side of my self. Once I have some extra fundings, I'm going to Ireland to finally have myself a pulled fresh pint of Guinness.
There is a strong literary tie in Ireland between pubs and literature and poetry.
This may be due to a not infrequent situation finding publishers, printers and pubs all being housed in the same building; as well as book sales taking place at or near these pubs. Almost all the Dublin pubs have some connection to famous literary types of the past with their photos or drawings residing now in these establishments.
Look for grand music, tasty pub grub (the food, which has gotten better and better over the years with the revolution in culinary popularity), and obviously, the drink.
The Brazen Head Pub
Must see, its the oldest Pub in Dublin at one time tallest building there.
Dating back to 1198, The Brazen Head is Ireland's oldest pub. When you consider that licensing laws only came into effect in 1635, this pub has been serving alcohol before official licensing laws were even enacted. A short walk from Christchurch Cathedral and The Guinness Brewery, The Brazen Head is well worth a visit for both its historic value and reputation as one of Dublin's best Irish music venues.
John Mulligen's Pub
No food, wine and ale, but John F Kennedy and James Joyce used to drink there. The perfect pint of Guinness is achieved by pulling a pint of Guinness 3/4 full and let sit, then the rest and let sit. Originally John Mulligen had banned all chairs because when real men drink they do it standing up.
John Kavanagh's Pub (The Gravedigger's Bar)
Just outside a famous cemetery with now 1.5 million buried.
The gravediggers, not being allowed in the bar, would knock on the wall and the owner, knowing who and what they drank by that knocking, would retrieve them a pint, take it outside and pass it through the rods of the fence in the Cemetery adjacent to the pub. During WWII, there was a shortage of glass, so the gravediggers would take an earthenware jam jar, and get a dink at the pub and so from that pub came the known phrase, "going for a jar".
The Palace Bar
This is within the Temple Bar area, once a Viking settlement, it is another worthy establishment to visit.
The Palace has had strong connections with writers and journalists for many a decade. Its unspoiled frosted glass and mahogany are impressive enough but the special feature is the famous sky-lighted snug, which is really more of a back room.
Many would cite The Palace as their favorite Dublin pub
The Dublin's Writer's Museum
Definitely a place to visit both before and after visiting the local pubs.
With its several bars has good food and excellent pints of Guinness and others.
Located in the historic heart of Dublin, just minutes from Trinity College and Grafton Street, is O'Neill's pub, the perfect place for a quiet pint or the lively welcome this city is famous for. You'll always be sure of a friendly welcome here. O’Neill’s has existed as a licensed premises for 300 years and is renowned for its ageless character, numerous alcoves, snugs, nooks and crannies.
Doheny & Nesbitt's Pub (D&N)
Famous for those public servants who talk politics and such
The Long Haul Pub
Women not allowed drinking in pubs, there was once a long hall surrounding the bar where they could be served, up until about 1951. Not your standard pub with the declaration of independence and some blurry b/w-pictures hanging on the walls, but a refined and polished example of an Victorian pub in the middle of Dublin.
Jameson's Irish Whiskey
The Old Jameson Distillery has a lovely tour and sampling after.
John Kehoe Pub
Kehoe's also sold groceries so it was called a "Spirit Grocery". They still have womens' cubicles where ladies could drink their sherry, sometimes, a whiskey, but not respectable to have a pint of Guinness, though sometimes they might have a smaller glass.
The bar is decorated in the style of an old Dublin pub, with stylish wood fittings, a very narrow bar and an intimate snug at the front and a bigger snug at the back. When the owner John Kehoe died a few years ago, the bar was sold for 2.3 million punts. The new owners opened up the musty interior upstairs where Kehoe used to live, with a bar and a little parlor with comfortable seating.
Thomas Davis, Poet and Politician said, "No enemy speaks lightly of Irish music. No friend need fear to boast of it."
The Stag's Head Pub
Built in 1770, overhauled in 1895, rich red warmly colored panelings. It was the late Frank McCourt's favorite pub in his Trinity College days.
Though a tavern has existed on this site since the 1780’s, this premises first attained great fame in the 1830’s as ‘John Bull’s Albion Hotel and Tavern’. This was one of the most sought after premises of the age in close proximity to ‘Dublin’s Theatreland’ and the fashionable stores of Dame Street and College Green. A popular music hall business was developed on the site, a trend continued by proprietors Alica and Henry Murphy during the 1840’s. William Wormington succeeded them here in the 1860’s and James Kennedy took the reins in the 1880’s.
Another Spirit Grocer pub. It feels very much like a rural pub from ages ago.
Situated on Baggot Street at the corner of Roger’s Lane which is named after the first owner Andrew Rogers in 1818. The pub is currently named after James Toner who the was licensee in 1923. He developed the pub as a bar and grocery shop. Toner’s is one of Dublin’s oldest and most famous traditional pubs.
The interior contributes much to a lively and friendly atmosphere. Old stock drawers still remain behind the bar with some wares displayed in glass cases to the left and right of the door. The decor and flagged floor will take you back in time.
Frequented throughout time by some of Ireland’s literary greats, including Kavanagh and Yeats. It is rumored that Toner’s was the only pub that W.B. Yeats drank in. He was known to sip a sherry and leave.
McDaids Harry Street Pub
Was once the local Morgue, explains its high ceilings.
McDaid's played a part in Dublin's literary history as the local of playwright and novelist, Brendan Behan. McDaid's became the center of a new generation of writers in the 1940s and 1950s who met in pubs in reaction to the quaint lives of older Irish writers. McDaid's has a distinctive Victorian exterior and when you step inside you find an old style bar with a high ceiling and a smattering of chairs and tables. The dimly lit bar has all the atmosphere of a classic Irish boozer, a secretive shrine to the art of convivial conversation and the latest gossip.
The Old Stand Pub
If you ask any Dubliner to name some of the heritage of Dublin's great pubs, one name which you will undoubtedly hear is "The Old Stand" on Exchequer Street, at the junction of St.Andrew Street. The name "Old Stand" gives us a clue to its closest sporting identity - the game of rugby; in fact the name was derived from a now demolished rugby stand at Lansdowne Road.
In 1916, a rebel stronghold. A hangout for theatre people, as well as writers. Sophisticated atmosphere, luxurious, comfortable.
Unspoiled Edwardian pub off Grafton Street has been in the present ownership for over half a century and is is popular at all times of day
In 1934 Paddy and Maureen O’Donoghue began running the bar It was during this time the Pub is became famous for the nightly traditional Irish music sessions and was where the popular and famous Irish folk group, the Dubliners formed their band. Many other notable Irish musicians from The Fureys to, Seamus Ennis, Joe Heaney have played at O’Donoghue’s and their photographs line the walls from top to bottom.
Now, I want a pint myself....
Information taken from various sources, many the pub's own web site and from "The Historic Pubs of Ireland", hosted by Frank McCourt who wrote "Angela's Ashes", the book that won several awards, including the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, the 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award (Biography) and the 1997 Boeke Prize.