There’s no better place to sample Irish culture and friendliness than in an Irish pub. Despite all the distractions that the 21st century offers, the pub remains at the heart of Ireland’s social life and joining the locals for a drink or three is a must for any visitor to the country.
The food served at pub’s has moved into another category in recent years, and it won’t be hard to find something delicious to go along with your pint. One thing that hasn’t changed, thankfully, is the opportunity to hear some traditional music while the whole pub sings along. This experience is great when all you thought you were going to do was pop in for a quick drink!
Sin É - Cork City, Ireland
You could easily spend an entire day at this place, which is everything a craic-filled pub should be – long on atmosphere and short on pretension (Sin É means 'that's it!'). There's music every night from 6.30pm May to September, and regular sessions Tuesday, Friday and Sunday the rest of the year, much of them traditional but with the odd surprise.
MacCarthy's Bar - Castletownbere, Ireland
If you're carrying an original copy of the late Pete McCarthy's bestseller, McCarthy's Bar, you'll be excited to see the front-cover photo in real life (the spelling was changed to match Pete's name for the cover pic). There's good food and drink, frequent live music and a grand wee snug inside the door, and the craic is mighty.
Eugene’s - Ennistimon, Ireland
Hand-painted timber panels, including portraits of James Joyce and the cast of cult TV show Father Ted (who drank here during filming), frame the extraordinary facade of this treasure of a pub. Intimate and cosy, the interior has a great whiskey collection, vintage trad-festival posters and some fab stained glass. Trad music plays several times a week year-round.
John Benny's - Dingle Town, Ireland
A toasty cast iron woodstove, stone slab floor, memorabilia on the walls, great staff and no intrusive TV make this one of Dingle's most enjoyable traditional pubs. Glenbeigh oysters and Cromane mussels are highlights of its excellent pub menu (mains €13 to €19.50; kitchen open to 9.30pm). Local musos pour in most nights for rockin' trad sessions.
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