You can’t go to Dublin without hitting the pubs. The Irish pub theme has spread around the world, and has a widespread appeal. Now, imagine going to an Irish pub – in Ireland!
Irish pubs have existed for roughly a millennium, and the oldest pub in Ireland is the Sean’s Bar in Athlone, which was established in the 10th century. The oldest pub in Dublin, The Brazen Head, was established in 1198.
Our “local” was the O’Brien’s, not far from our hotel. This is one of the oldest pubs in Dublin and The Greatest Pub in the World! The famous bar has remained untouched for nearly 100 years. Fridays are popular for after work gatherings, and in fair weather the patrons gather in small groups both inside and outside, on the sidewalk along the intersection. Want to get to know the locals? No worries, go to the pub, get your preferred beverage and hope someone will come and talk to you. Soon you will be immerged in great conversation and good craic! (No we are not talking drugs here. Craic is a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation. In other words, the good kind of craic!)
The Irish public house has been an integral part of Irish social culture for centuries. The local pub is a pillar of the community much in the same way the local church would be. It is not just a place to consume alcohol, but also functions as a place in which to meet and greet the people of that area. The warm and friendly atmosphere extends to outsiders as well, and as mentioned above, as a tourist you quickly get drawn into conversations with the locals. Often you also find live music – also an important part of the culture.
Many pubs also serve hearty food, often featuring classic Irish dishes like Beef and Guinness Stew (see recipe HERE) and fish and chips. Also hamburgers and various sandwiches are often offered. Drinks include a variety of spirits and beers on tap but one can certainly expect Guinness and Irish whiskey such as Bushmills or Jameson. Of course, you do not have to drink alcohol; you can still have good craic with the locals. It is traditional that, when with a group, patrons take turns buying rounds of drinks for the group as a whole. It is considered bad manners to leave before buying your round of drinks. If you know you have to leave early, make sure you get your round in early on. The traditional Irish toast is “Slainte” which is the Gaelic equivalent of “cheers”.
When visiting Dublin, and Ireland, make sure you pay a visit to the local pub for some good craic with the locals! Slainte!
Make sure you check out my previous posts from Ireland: