There’s no substituting some things in life, and, there’s no faking a proper pub. If the ceilings not sporting a yellow nicotine tinge from a bygone age, and the bar not knotted and nicked, sticky with spills…well, you get the picture. In nearly 29 years in the States, I’ve never found a really proper one. Many have come very close, but sadly, just like New York pizza…it’s not something replicated. So, I’m taking you on a tour of some truly authentic pubs, not to missed in Dublin. Dublin as in the Emerald Isle, Cathleen NiHoulihan, Roisin Dubh. Not as in Dublin, Ohio…
Before we head off, there are a couple of points to be made:
1: You’re never alone in an Irish pub. With all due respect to my mother-in-law, The Irish can talk the hind legs off a donkey. Excelling at small talk, you’ll soon find yourself ‘spilling your heart out’ as quickly as you down the –‘dark stuff‘. My husband once became entangled in a 45-minute conversation with a ‘talkative old boy’ just by crossing the road at the same time – and that was with no alcohol involved. Seriously.
2: About that craic (no, not crack, though the pronunciation is basically the same). Craic, as in “I’m out for a bit of craic!” a Gaelic word translating to something like ‘good times’. Generally along the lines of singing, music, jigging about and more singing…all washed down with libations that make you want to not stop.
So, considering yourself forewarned, and let’s start…it’s all in good craic.
O’Donoghues,Merrion Row. Made famous (infamous?) as a casual jamming spot for the Dubliners. We sang ourselves hoarse in this establishment, drinking some fine Irish whiskey. Built-in 1789 as a grocery store, it began operating full-time as a pub when purchased by the O’Donoghue family in 1934. They’ve kept the musical tradition alive with music 7 nights a week. The ale + sarcasm flows expertly and freely…
The Brazen Head. Granted this place is busy, tourists turn up galore. But, there’s a reason for its popularity – it’s an icon! This place Built as a coaching inn in 1754, on the site of a merchant’s dwelling dating back to at least 1613. Local tradition claims that the site has housed a tavern or alehouse since 1198. Regardless of that boast, there’s great sense of history enthused within the walls of the ‘old girl’ – live traditional music every night.
The Cobblestone, a drinking pub with a music problem!
A real Irish pub experience. From the barmaid who will greet you warmly, the musicians who fill the room with song, and the pints of Smithwicks that go down way too easily. Sit next to locals, that you’ll overhear, but not understand a word of. We became fast friends with two fellow adventurers, it’s that kind of place. If you appreciate traditional jamming, you can find some outstanding talent here.
It’s all just brilliant.