The Irish diaspora, triggered in large part due to the desperate times of the Potato Famine back in the mid 1800’s, brought the world one of Ireland’s best known cultural exports – the Irish pub. Full of character, these beautiful watering holes frequently boast gorgeous stained wood beams, a multitude of decor from the old country, hearty and delectable food , and the trademark toe-tapping music that has made Irish pubs the place to go for uplifting tunes.
So when one travels to the Emerald Isle, to not make an effort to visit some local Irish pubs when traipsing the country would be doing this spirited nation a grave disservice. With that in mind, here are some Irish pubs you should definitely check out as you make your way across this unforgettable country. If you’re up for it, Dublin walking tours are a great way to see the city and really get a feel for the place while making stops of choice along the way and noting places to return to later.
1) The Stag’s Head, Dublin – Before you strike out into the amazing Irish countryside, make sure you hit this famous joint first. Many famous people have raised a glass in this bar, from Irish literary legend James Joyce, to the modern day alternative film impresario, Quentin Tarantino. It is a particularly beautiful pub, as the wood furnishings consist of polished mahogany, and its clientele are filled with a wide cross section of people, from journalists to lawyers, to students from nearby Trinity College. Have a thoughtful conversation, or meet a special friend for the evening – you can do both at The Stag’s Head.
2) McCarthy’s, Fethard, Co. Tipperary – Located in the middle of rural Ireland, in an unforgettable setting of flat plains, lorded over by a nearby misty mountain, McCarthy’s distills much of rural Irish life into a one local pub. There are pictures of thoroughbred racing horses on the walls, which the region is famous for producing. Other photos bring to light Ireland’s tumultuous past, depicting the Bloody Sunday Football team and various Irish revolutionaries. Today, McCarthy’s caters to travelers passing through, offering an upscale menu to those who choose to order from it. It also continues to be a community meeting place, as dairy and horse farmers continue to drop in for a pint or two, discussing the day to day foibles of their chosen professions.
3) De Barra’s, Clonakilty, Co. Cork – Fans of traditional Irish music will want to stop by De Barra’s in Clonakity. On the walls here, you will find many instruments belonging to many famous Irish musicians, including the mandolin belonging to Paddy Keenan of the Bothy Band, and the jazz bass of Noel Redding, former bassist for Jimmy Hendrix and former resident of Clonakitty. Want to jam with an Irish musician on your vacation. Be sure to ask the staff if it’s a jam night or if business is slow – all are trained musicians.
This is but a handful of the local spots across Ireland that are aching to be explored. So don’t be shy, walk on in, order a Guinness and strike up a chat with a local – you’ll add dimensions of meaning to your trip to the Republic of Ireland!