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The Ultimate Craic: Ireland’s 10 Most Legendary Irish Pubs πŸ“

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So your looking for a bit of craic are ya? Well, you’ve come to the right place. A well-worn journal in hand, a thirst for adventure (and perhaps a pint or two), and a roadmap dotted with places that promise more than just a good drink—they whisper the promise of good company, great stories, and the kind of nights you’ll recount for years to come. That’s how I found myself on an unexpected pilgrimage to the heart of Irish culture, one historic pub at a time.

You see, Ireland’s pubs are like fingerprints—no two are quite the same, each unique in its character, each with a story to tell. These aren’t just watering holes; they’re the living rooms of a nation, where the warmth comes not just from the hearth but from the jovial banter and the clinking of glasses. From the hallowed streets of Dublin to the windswept corners of the Atlantic coast, I’ve wandered, laughed, and, above all, listened.

So, grab your jacket—we’re going on a tour that’s part history lesson, culinary adventure, and all-around good time. These ten legendary pubs are my personal selection, places where I’ve left a bit of my heart and perhaps claimed a small piece of Ireland’s soul for my own. Whether you’re seeking the echo of ancient melodies or just a snug spot to enjoy a stout, these venerable institutions are the real deal.

Let’s walk through doors where time stands still, and the modern world seems to fade away with each step inside. This is a tale of ten pubs, but it’s the story of Ireland itself—told one sip at a time.

And yes, I know plenty of other worth pubs that could have made it to on the list. It is but a small collection of great Irish pubs! 

1. The Brazen Head, Dublin: – Ireland’s oldest pub, dating back to 1198.Brazen Head, Dublin

As you push open the door of The Brazen Head, you step into history itself. Dating back to 1198, this pub has served as a meeting place for rebels and scholars alike. It’s said that Robin Hood himself might have had a pint here. The Brazen Head isn’t just a pub; it’s a living museum where the walls whisper tales of yesteryears. With live traditional music and a hearty Irish stew, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to connect with Dublin’s past.

2. Sean’s Bar, Athlone: Another contender for the oldest, with history seeping into the walls.

Nestled in the heart of Ireland, Sean’s Bar holds a Guinness World Record for being the oldest pub in Ireland, with a history traced back to AD 900. The pub has kept some of its original walls, now covered in sawdust, and a sly charm that has welcomed travelers for over a millennium. Here, you can enjoy a pint while touching the ancient walls that have seen the passage of time.

3. Durty Nelly’s Bunratty is a stone’s throw from Bunratty Castle; it’s full of character.

Durty Nelly's Bunratty

It really is a stone’s throw away!

Just a stone’s throw from the historic Bunratty Castle lies Durty Nelly’s – a pub that’s as much a part of the landscape as the castle itself. Founded in 1620, it’s said to be named after a local charmer, Nelly, who provided weary travellers a pint and a warm bed. The pub is famed for its oysters and traditional music sessions, offering a true taste of the Shannon region.

4. The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast A Victorian gem with snug booths and ornate decor.

Street view of the Crown Bar, a famous pub at great victorial street Belfast. Oct 16, 2016, Belfast Northern Ireland. Step into the Crown Liquor Saloon and be transported back to Victorian Belfast. The Crown is a jewel of the North with its gas-lit interior, stained glass, and private snugs. Owned by the National Trust, it’s a protected building that serves up not just pints but a hefty slice of history with each visit.

5. De Barra’s Folk Club, Clonakilty Known for its live music and ties to the folk scene.

De Barra’s is a cornerstone of the Irish folk music scene, with a reputation that has attracted musicians from around the world. Its walls are adorned with memorabilia, and the likes of Christy Moore have graced its stage. A visit here offers more than a cold drink; it’s an evening steeped in the rich musical tapestry of Ireland.

6. McCarthy’s, Fethard Part pub, part undertaker – it’s as unique as they come.

At McCarthy’s, the motto is “We wine you, dine you and bury you”, owing to its unique combination of a pub, restaurant, and undertaker. This establishment dates back to the 1850s and remains a quirky yet comforting place where locals and visitors alike can raise a glass to the circle of life.

7. O’Donoghue’s, Dublin, is famous for its traditional Irish music. 

O’Donoghue’s is where the renowned band The Dubliners got their start. The pub has been a gathering place for musicians since the 1960s and continues to be a hub for those looking to experience authentic Irish music and craic.

8. Dick Mack’s, Dingle A pub and a leather shop, it’s a true Irish experience.

Dick Mack’s, established in 1899, is part pub, part leather shop, and all charm. This family-run establishment is known for its extensive selection of whiskey and for hosting impromptu music sessions. Its front yard is a Hollywood Walk of Fame – Irish style, with stars bearing the names of famous visitors.

9. The Temple Bar, Dublin Iconic, though touristy, is known the world over. 

By far the most famous of all of the Irish pubs the Temple Bar, DublinThe Temple Bar is arguably one of Dublin’s most iconic tourist spots. While it may be newer than some of the other pubs on this list, what it lacks in age, it makes up for in atmosphere. Known for its red exterior, live music, and one of the city’s best beer gardens, The Temple Bar is a bustling spot where one can experience modern Dublin life in all its vibrancy.

10. Gus O’Connor’s Doolin: The place to be for music in the heart of Clare.

Since 1832, Gus O’Connor’s has been the heart of Doolin’s music scene. Renowned worldwide for its traditional Irish music, it’s a place where you can enjoy a pint and tap your feet into the rhythms of Ireland. Just a short distance from the Cliffs of Moher, it’s the perfect stop after a day of exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.

Remember, each of these pubs isn’t just a place to wet your whistle; they’re steeped in history and stories. Some say you can still hear the echoes of the past in their halls. So if you’re looking to delve into what makes them legendary, you’ll find plenty to explore – from the patrons and the pints to the music and the myths. Sure, you might find yourself lost in a story or two. Happy researching!

 

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