Ireland pubs are the source of many travelers’ fondest memories of the Emerald Isle. The pub has a long-standing tradition of community in Ireland, which makes these different in some ways from Irish-themed pubs in other countries. Visitors may be surprised to discover that a traditional pub in Ireland is often considered a family place. During the day don’t be surprised to see families with their children having a few pints of Guinness along with their Sunday lunch. In Irish culture, the pub replaces cafes and everyone meets at their local pub for a drink, a cup of coffee, or just to listen to the music. No holiday in Ireland would be complete without stepping into a few traditional pubs.
One popular way to see this aspect of local culture is with Ireland pub tours. This concept has taken off in towns including Dublin and Galway where visitors are led on a tour through the city to the best pubs. Some of these Ireland pub tours are theme-based, meaning you will visit pubs that all have literary significance, or pubs that have contributed to local music. Charismatic tour guides usually give brief but interesting information on the sites seen between pubs, but still the main focus is on the pubs themselves and having a few drinks with your new friends. If you’re traveling alone or in a small group, Ireland pub tours are a great way to meet fellow travelers.
Travelers often have different opinions on what the best pubs in Ireland are. Some visitors think the traditional pubs of Dublin epitomize the concept of the Irish pub, with their perfect pints of Guinness, traditional music, and charismatic bartenders. There are a few places in Dublin that have been called the best pubs in Ireland, including O’Donoghue’s, a famous Irish-music pub and Doheny and Nesbitt’s, a charming pub that has gone unchanged for generations. For other travelers, the best pubs in Ireland are those found in the country, in small villages. In these pubs you are more likely to pull up a stool next to a local with a few stories to tell than next to a fellow traveler.
There are a few different types of Ireland pubs. Family-friendly pubs often serve meals of hearty traditional food, such as Irish stew. These often have generous places to sit and relax. Another type of pub is the type of place that only serves drinks. You may be able to find a bag of peanuts or potato chips, but don’t expect service at the table. All pubs will proudly serve the popular local brew, Guinness, but don’t expect your pint to be ready too quickly—a properly poured pint of Guinness takes a few minutes to be ready. Almost all bartenders at Ireland pubs will know how to pour you the perfect Guinness.
Other popular drinks at Irish pubs include the local whiskey, Jameson. If you’re in Dublin you can tour both the Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Storehouse to see where these drinks are made. For many visitors, it isn’t the drinks that they remember most about Irish pubs. Live music is a central element to the pub experience. Expect both traditional music and a songwriter strumming on the guitar playing his own tunes or songs from the famous Irish band U2. Irish pubs are also notoriously welcome places, so expect lots of conversation and laughter. From one coast to the next, you will never be too far away from a lovely Irish pub.
Image: Tourism Ireland