Open fires, plenty of history, quirky settings, dogs allowed, no televisions and the seal of approval from locals are among the perks in pubs that made the cut for Lonely Planet’s list of 20 of the best pubs in Ireland.
The famous travel guide selected establishments from across the country for its list published on Tuesday, which whittled down Ireland’s more than 7,000 pubs to recommend a select few.
The capital unsurprisingly boasts three of the pubs, while two each from Donegal and Belfast also made the list. Others hail from Cork, Waterford, Meath, Kerry, Laois, Sligo, Wicklow, Offaly, Galway, Clare, Louth, Fermanagh and Limerick.
Here are the guide’s recommendations “for pints, music and the time of your life”…
The Gravediggers in Dublin, built into the wall of Glasnevin Cemetery, is a “much-loved establishment with not a television in sight” where “conversation is key.”
Teach Hiúdaí Beag in the Donegal Gaeltacht is recommended for its “legendary” weekly traditional music sessions.
De Barra's Folk Club in Clonakilty, Co Cork is known for being “the Carnegie Hall” of Cork and Lonely Planet says walking in “is like walking into a musical history museum.”
The Moorings in Dungarvan, Co Waterford is recommended for gin cocktails overlooking the sea as a “slice of heaven on a sunny day.”
O'Connell's in Skryne, Co Meath is known for being the pub featured in Guinness's Christmas advertisement for 17 years and has remained in the same family for 170 years.
Dick Mack’s in Dingle, Co Kerry “is in a class of its own” according to the travel guide, with the dual-function pub also home to a leather shop in one half of the bar.
Morrissey's in Abbeyleix, Co Laois will “transport you back in time to the 1900s” as it has “withstood the onslaught of modernisation.”
Thomas Connolly in Sligo town is known for “the warm welcome, famous pints of stout, regular live music and an ever-growing range of over 200 premium Irish whiskeys and scotch.”
Mickey Finns Pub in Co Wicklow is in “the heart of the garden of Ireland” with the “cozy, low-ceilinged pub… a warren of rooms each with welcoming open fires and potbellied stoves.”
JJ Houghs Singing Pub in Banagher, Co Offaly “is a 250-year-old pub long celebrated for its charm and the warm welcome of its owner,” with descriptions of the place ranging from “quirky” to “idiosyncratic”.
The Rusty Mackerel in Co Donegal serves fresh fish caught at night and delivered to their door every morning and “is a must on any Irish bucket list.”
Street 66 in Dublin is recommended as an “atmospheric LGBTQ+ bar with great music” with the added bonus that four-legged friends are welcome in the dog-friendly bar.
Sunflower Public House in Belfast is a “cultural hub with plenty of history” that is “instantly recognisable from its relic of 1980s Belfast, a security cage.”
Tigh Neachtain in Galway city boasts “unforgettable music sessions” and is a favourite of locals for both food and drink. “If you can get a seat inside, you might never leave,” Lonely Planet says.
O'Loclainn's Irish Whiskey Bar in Ballyvaughan, Co Clare is hailed for owner Margaret’s “incredible” whiskey knowledge, with 70 Irish whiskeys and 20 Scotches available for sale.
Clarkes Bar in Drogheda, Co Louth is a place for “escaping to candlelit nooks and crannies” and is a bar long linked with the arts in Ireland.
Blakes of the Hollow in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh is one of the best-known Victorian-style pubs in Ireland where a photo with the carved Game of Thrones door is a must for fans of the fantasy show.
The Cobblestone in Smithfield, Dublin is known for calling itself a “drinking pub with a music problem” and is largely regarded as one of Ireland’s most famous traditional music pubs.
Mother Macs in Limerick City is known for its large range of refreshing craft beers housed in an iconic building dating from the 1700s. “It doesn't serve food but you are not coming here to eat,” says Lonely Planet.
The Duke of York in Belfast, tucked down a cobbled lane in the city centre, is a locals' haunt recommended for a pint in the sun.