I’ve picked the brains of Irish pub lovers far and wide to come up with this selection of pubs in the emerald isles that you should make a bee-line to:
Built in 1720, this is one of Ireland’s oldest pubs and it still has the low doors and the original open fire. Its locals come from all over Belfast, such is the charm – and the singing. If a cosy pub with traditional Irish music is what you’re after, Kelly’s is quite possibly the best place to experience it on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Now this IS Ireland’s oldest pub. It’s been here since 1198 and one can only imagine the stories its walls could tell. The ruling clans, the wars, the skulduggery and all celebrated over a wee brew. This is a great spot to eat great pub grub and meet visitors from all over the world who have also heard of its reputation. They have a fantastic line up of Irish musicians every night (even van Morrison has played here) and the Sunday afternoon session is worth coming early for.
Annascaul, County Kerry
Built by Antarctic explorer Tom Crean who famously joined Scott and Shackleton on several polar expeditions, this was where he saw out his days. He died in 1938, but his pub is still filled with exploring memorabilia, photos and many a yarn. But it’s unassuming and easy to miss if you weren’t looking out for it. Make sure you look out for it on your way to Dingle or the Ring of Kerry.
Dingle is one of the cutest seaside villages you’ll ever see and there are many pubs and restaurants to choose from. But you should head to Foxy John’s for a pint. It’s half pub, half hardware store and half bike rental (ok so that’s three halves). Sit down with a Jameson or a Guinness and start up a yarn with the locals. It’s small, cosy, plays football on the big screen and is a secret not many find in Ireland.
This three-story, 800-year old pub at 15 High Street is named after the execution of King Charles I as it sits in the former house of his executioner henchman Col. Peter Stubbers. But these days the medieval fireplace that was only uncovered in the last 10 years stands over revelry of a different kind with live music, theatre and improv, a big screen for the football, great food and wonderful staff to entertain many a visitor.