March is the month of Saint Patrick’s Day, so it’s a great time to sample a drop of Ireland’s tangy liquid-gold, Guinness. (Not that we needed an excuse.) While a pint is as close to hand as Boat Quay, Sonia Marxuki travelled further afield – to the Guinness heartland.
Dublin has more than a thousand pubs, from small to large, and traditional to modern. Here are five of the best:
The Brazen Head
20 Lower Bridge Street
Just a short walk from the Guinness Storehouse and a stone’s throw from Christchurch Cathedral and the city centre is Ireland’s oldest pub, one with truly great craic. Established in 1198 as a coach house, the Brazen Head is still going strong, serving up hearty Irish fare and a good pint of Guinness, with live traditional music every night.
8 Poolbeg Street
Another venerable institution, Mulligans is just minutes from the main thoroughfare of O’Connell Street and opposite the famed Theatre Royal. Established in 1782, this pub proudly calls itself the “home of the pint” because of the quality of its Guinness. The interior has remained the same over the centuries and it’s frequented by old-timers with stories to tell, making it perfect for soaking up the essence of Dublin.
The Hole in the Wall
Ireland’s longest pub, “The Hole” started out as a two-bar drinking house in 1652. Today, it stretches across five cottages behind the original pub along the Phoenix Park wall. A short commute from the city centre makes this a less touristy watering hole, but the combination of olde-worlde charm, original stonework, good pub grub, traditional Irish music and of course, that gorgeous pint of Guinness, make this an essential part of the Dublin itinerary.
James Toner’s Pub
139 Lower Baggott Street
Rory Guinness once declared: “Toner’s pours the best pint of Guinness in Dublin.” And this reputation prevails, along with its name for being a true Dublin pub that serves a great stew and has great craic. A short walk from the city’s St Stephen’s Green, Toner’s is well worth visiting.
27 Westmoreland Street
Located in the heart of the city between Grafton Street and O’Connell Street, this bar was made famous by Bill Clinton’s visit in 1995 (and is, in fact, owned and run by his cousins). Nevertheless, Cassidy’s prides itself on being a real Irish bar offering good traditional food and a great pint of the black stuff, which according to some regulars, seems to taste even better with the live music.
There are a few airlines that take you from Singapore to Ireland, but you’ll have at least one stopover to change planes for the Dublin leg: try Qantas or British Airways (via London Heathrow), KLM (via Amsterdam), Air France (via Paris), Singapore Airlines (via London Heathrow, Frankfurt or Amsterdam) or Etihad (via Abu Dhabi).
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