A Pub Crawl Through Ireland
In America and several places around the world, many people become Irish for one day: St. Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick is most famous for driving the snakes out of Ireland and bringing modern day Christianity. What better way to celebrate than to throw down some green beer, wear a large leprechaun hat or paint shamrocks on your face? In more recent years, Ireland has taken on the “American” version of St. Patty’s with parades, festivals and all that goes with that. However, you will not find green beer in Ireland, just the richness of Guinness, some great Celtic music and some of the nicest people on earth. We are talking about a pub-crawl through majestic Ireland.
In order to see all the sites and taste plenty of traditional fare, you’ll want to give yourself at least a week in Ireland. Everything you’ve seen in a book or on TV can’t do justice to the beauty of Ireland. Let the pubbing begin!
The best part of any pub in Ireland is the great food they serve. First stop, well that has to be M.J. O’ Neill’s. The drinks have been flowing there for over 300 years. Seven nights a week you’ll find traditional Irish music. Guinness can be considered food, so try the Oysters Mornay and Irish soda bread.
Where does your Guinness come from? The Guinness storehouse of course. Ireland’s number one tourist attraction will not only give you the brewing history of Guinness, but you will also get a free pint at the gravity bar, a 360 degree view of Dublin, located on the top floor of the storehouse. One floor below, try the steak and kidney pie at Gilroy’s Bistro, one of four places to eat in the brewery.
The city of Cong was home to the filming of the 1952 John Wayne film “The Quiet Man”. Visit the Quiet Man Museum, where you can re-create a scene from the movie.
For a night at the pub, musicians from all over the world come to jam with a member of the Irish folk band, the Chieftain’s, at Matt Malloy’s in Westport. Malloy is the band’s flute and fiddle player, and when not touring, he can be seen sitting in a session with any musicians who may show up.
One of the bigger cities in Ireland, Galway is a great college town with a great nightlife, shops, restaurants, and of course, great pubs. Famous for its nightly traditional Irish music is Tig Colli, located in the Latin Quarter of town.
Down to Doolin
The village of Doolin is nestled right over the Cliffs of Moher, across the bay from the Aran Islands. Since 1832, Gus O’Connor’s Pub has been attracting some of the finest Irish folk players to play for the eager crowds of tourists. This pub also has some great food, with local farm-raised chickens and salmon fresh from the ocean.
If you are up for adventure, you can do a wee bit of surfing (yes, surfing) right under the Cliffs of Moher. The waves here have been known to get as high as 35 feet.
Kiss the Blarney
When you are in Cork City, you must experience one of the most traditional, yet touristy things to do: kiss the Blarney Stone. Located in the city of Blarney, the stone itself is situated in the Blarney castle.
After your make out session with an Irish rock, head to Cork city and visit some great pubs. Cronin’s is one of my favorites, and has been around since 1892. If it’s a cold day, warm yourself with the fish soup, and of course, a pint of Guinness.
Divided City of Belfast
Once you cross over to Northern Ireland, you are now in the United Kingdom. Although peace officially came to Belfast in 2005, you can still see remnants of the bloodshed, which took the lives of many Catholics and Protestants. Now, Belfast is one of the culinary hubs of Ireland, and is home to some of the oldest pubs and best restaurants.
For over 150 years, you would be hard pressed to find a finer pub in Belfast than the Crown Bar and Pub. Some of the best ales and finest foods are served in this gem of a pub. Reserve a Snug (a cushy booth), grab a pint, and a staple of the menu: the steak and Guinness pie. You may be full for the entire plane ride home.