The pub is an important part of the Irish social scene; it is one of the best places for a visitor to put his finger on the pulse of the community. Any Brit will be familiar with the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere of the community public house, and the pubs you will experience while travelling through Ireland are some of the most cosy and charming you could wish for.
Many pubs in the major Irish city centres have lost their traditional charm and have become more commercial. If you truly want to experience the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere of a traditional Irish pub, you will have to head out into the countryside or smaller towns. People are there for “craic,” which is an Irish term that means “fun” or “a good laugh.” They will be friendly to strangers, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation.
A trip to Ireland isn’t complete without enjoying the atmosphere of a pub, so here are some of the best watering holes in the country to sip on a pint of Guinness.
Clancy’s, Athy, County Kildare
Ger Clancy and his wife Breda have laboured to recreate the traditional style in this pub, restoring its beautiful Edwardian interior. It is considered one of the best pubs in eastern Ireland to listen to live music. If you visit on a Thursday night, there will be approximately 12 to 15 musicians gathered playing fiddles, mandolins and flutes as well as singing traditional songs. Everyone in the pub is invited to join in and sing. It’s worth a visit to enjoy the spirit and atmosphere.
EJ Morrissey’s Pub in Abbeyleix, County Laois
Traditionally, people don’t pass through Abbeyleix without pausing in Morrissey’s for a pint. As Abbeyleix is positioned on the main road between Dublin and Cork, this established the pub as a popular meeting place. The pub has a wooden interior with a number of small and cosy seating areas. Part of the charm of this old pub’s décor is the collection of antique goods on display. You will see all sorts of odds and ends that would have been found in an Irish village grocery more than half a century ago, including biscuit tins, dismantled clocks, jars of traditional sweets and a slicing machine. This element of history creates a great conversation-starter while you are enjoying a pint.
McDermott’s Pub, County Clare
This is another pub suited for impromptu sessions of traditional Irish music. It is located in the tiny seaside village of Doolin, six miles away from the famous Cliffs of Moher. McDermott’s Pub has been an important part of the village social scene since 1867. It features nightly live music from the early springtime to late autumn. This cosy pub also serves delicious homemade food, so you can warm up on a chilly day with a crock of homemade soup and Irish brown bread.
Moran’s Oyster Cottage, County Galway
This pub is a thatched cottage that dates back at least 250 years and has been run by the Moran family for seven generations. It can be found 12 miles outside of Galway, and it’s one of the best places in Ireland to enjoy fresh and delicious oysters. There are even oyster-shucking competitions at this friendly pub, and the bartenders will pour you a pint to wash down the salty seafood.
These are only a sampling of traditional Irish pubs, where you are greeted with friendly smiles, large pints, delicious food and great music. Enjoy the social atmosphere of these establishments, as the pub is an essential feature of Irish culture.
About the Author: Katie Greenhalgh is a food blogger who recently moved to County Galway. She loves sharing holiday information about Ireland with her readers and recommending the best pubs and restaurants to them.