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10 Pubs To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

10 Pubs To Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh! Or Happy St. Patrick’s Day for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the Gaelic language – ye poor sods. Today is the day we celebrate the shamrock, the day we paint ourselves green and the day we permit ourselves to drink bucketfuls of Guinness (even though a lot of us out there don’t even like the taste that much).

 

Personally I actually love a pint of the black stuff and plan to consume several over the weekend while I act the young thing with my best friends. We’re headed south for our girl Louise’s hen party and I’m a big ball of excitement/fear for the activities ahead of us. What I’m most looking forward to is being wedged in between the gals. roaring over our drinks while we listen to the same traditional music that’s been listened to for generations.

 

It’s a cliché I suppose but there is no greater place to be in Ireland than in a pub on St. Patrick’s Day. When you pick the right one you find yourself not wanting to leave, soaking in the atmosphere that’s thick around you while trying to say sober enough so you remember it all. It doesn’t even have to be a session, it may only be for a wee sensible skiff of a drink but it’s sure to be enough to fill your heart with as much patriotism as you need.

 

As well as being lucky enough to be born here, I’ve also been lucky enough to have had my fair share of pints across the island so I’ve decided to share some of my favourites from over the years. Obviously there are hundreds of establishments that are stupendously wonderful so please share if you have any tips of your own but for now here are mine. Wishing you all of the luck today and a wonderful Paddy’s Day wherever you find yourself!

 

Fitzpatricks – Carlingford, Co. Louth

This is the best place to go for a pint with your Granny. It’s coming down with old artefacts from across the years and it even has a pet farm out the back to keep the kids entertained! If you don’t make it this Paddy’s Day be sure to pay a visit over Hallowe’en. The owners go all out with decorations and spooky scenes across the whole site – definitely something to be seen!

 

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Kelly’s Cellars – Belfast, Co. Antrim

As a new local to Belfast I could list a load of pubs here that are good enough to pay a visit to but for now I’ll choose my favourite. Kelly’s Cellars is a great spot for a lit fire and when you walk through the doors it feels like you’re in the middle of old Ireland. It’s a great place to escape the city pace and slow down over a few cold ones.

 

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Singing Pub – Downings, Co. Donegal

This is a gem to be found on the Wild Atlantic Coast and well worth the trek to. The place is family run and the manager, Tony, makes you feel like a local anytime you drop in. Whatever you do, please order the seafood chowder. It’s without a doubt the best chowder I’ve ever tasted and the portion size will surely soak up whatever you’ve been drinking.

 

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Matt Molly’s – Westport, Co. Mayo

I remember walking in to this place after stopping off on a road trip. We walked to the very back of the pub to pick out a seat and found ourselves parked beside the local musicians who had dropped in for a session. More and more players joined and soon the entire place was filled with music so amazing my eyes filled with tears. It’s a place I can’t wait to go back to.

 

Peadar Kearney’s – Dublin, Co. Dublin

This place has been hiving both times I’ve been in it but the live music was sensational. It’s a good place to start a night out but I wouldn’t blame you if you found yourself still there at closing time.

 

Tig Cóilí – Galway, Co. Galway

I was in this pub on St. Patrick’s Day in 2013. The sun was splitting the trees that day as we sat by the windows that were open on to the famous Shopping Street of the city. The pub was jammed with people and we were delighted to have scored some seats when all of a sudden the crowd fell silent. An aul fella who was propped up at the end of the bar had started singing an old Irish song, the words of which I can’t remember. What I do remember was the feeling in the room as every man, woman and child had been hushed by these gorgeous lyrics. Once he finished, the pub erupted and it was probably the best St. Paddy’s moment I ever had.

 

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Tynan’s Bridge House Bar – Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny

This pub is off the main street but I loved it for it’s simple charm. The floors were uneven which did nothing to help the inebriated among us but it was quiet and had plenty of dark corners to hide in. Sometimes the best pubs are the quiet ones; where you’re free to have a relaxed chat and the whole place is yours to fill with forgotten conversations.

 

Red Ned’s – Armagh, Co. Armagh

Of course I had to include Ned’s – a pub I’ve frequented since I was a child with a Club Orange upper lip and wee legs swinging from the benches. The pub has plenty of familiar faces for me but it also has some fantastic live music that would attract any from outside the town. Definitely a recommendation if you’re about the Orchard County.

 

The Mutton Lane Inn – Cork City, Co. Cork

We were in Cork for the Jazz Festival in October and this was the pub that stuck out for me. It’s one of the oldest establishments in the city which is just bursting with tradition. You’re really spoiled for choice though around the Oliver Plunkett area so you can find yourself doing a pub crawl that could last for days.

 

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McDermott’s – Doolin, Co. Clare

A class wee pub that I stumbled upon once with friends while visiting the Cliffs of Moher. Doolin is a really sweet village and this place is perfect for resting the hooves and whiling away an hour two with some drinks in hand. It’s also a great place for a feed if you find yourself staying on for dinner – which no doubt you will!

 

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Travel Tips for the Irish Atlantic Coast

Travel Tips for the Irish Atlantic Coast

Last October Andrew took me on a surprise weekend away for my birthday. I was so excited, not knowing what to expect and my mind went riot. My little sister Shannon, who is known in the family to be the more ‘pampered’ girl, mentioned that it would probably be a spa retreat somewhere. Now, I am by no means a princess but the thought of going to a spa got me even more excited and with Shannon’s help I convinced myself that I was in for a weekend of treatments and towel robes.

 

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In the week leading up to the weekend I asked Andrew what I needed to pack in the hope it might give me some clues as to where we were headed. I sheepishly asked, “Will I need a bikini??” and he replied “Eh yeh, pack one in case..”. I was convinced then we were destined for a hotel somewhere with a pool at least because what person in their right mind would sit outside in a bikini in October?

 

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So off we went up the M2 from Belfast on the Friday after work. The direction gave me a bit of a clue and I hazarded a guess that we were for Donegal and began thinking of all the different hotels there.. When we went over the border through Letterkenny in to Donegal I was giddy with excitement! It was getting dark and as we drove I noticed we were getting more and more isolated. I then began to think “What if it isn’t actually a hotel and I’m going to feel disappointed when I shouldn’t be?”. I began to think of the kind of weekend Andrew would plan for me and stopped thinking of my sister’s ideas and I realised… it was going be an Airbnb weekend – I had gotten it all wrong!

 

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I love Airbnb, swear by it actually, but I found myself getting disheartened like a wee brat and I was so ashamed of myself. As we pulled up to a little cowshed in the Glenties I tried my best not to show it to Andrew that it was completely not what I was expecting. Andrew knows me too well though and I could see the worry in his face when he could see I wasn’t showing the excitement he had anticipated. Bless him he’d even brought steaks to cook a dinner for us and champagne!

 

The whole thing taught me a big lesson though – Andrew knows what I like better than I do. Even though I had been concocting some image of steam rooms and massages, this little cowshed in the middle of nowhere in Donegal was so much better than all of that. It was a complete hideaway in the hills where we could just be with each other, hear the wind battering the walls around us while cosying up by the fire.

 

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The cowshed was beautiful, amazingly finished with the sweetest touches. It was basically one room with a stove, kitchenette, little dining area, couch and mezzanine for the bed. There was a wee bathroom just below the mezzanine which reminded me of being in a boat. It was perfect.

 

During the day we went for drives along the Atlantic coast, had lunch in tearooms, visited the Gaeltacht area where I spent summers as a teenager and went exploring down the country roads. It was cold but the colder months are when Donegal is at it’s most beautiful. The rugged landscape seems to suit wilder weather and there is something amazing about hearing the gales outside with a warm stove crackling in the background. At night we played scrabble, drank a lot of wine, listened to music and then went to bed under the stars (there was a skylight above the bed).

 

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I would recommend the retreat to anyone, even to someone who wanted to get away on there own. It was a fantastic weekend to appreciate Ireland and each other and for that I was incredibly grateful.

 

If you have any sense and want to check this wee spot out, you can book here.

 


Travel Tips for Donegal

  • Don’t go hoping for good weather – Donegal is one of my favourite places in Ireland no matter what season and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing or the sun is shining, you will always come away refreshed
  • Try to learn a little Irish – some areas in Donegal are known as Gaeltacht areas meaning the first language of the locals is Irish Gaelic. It’s useful to learn a few phrases and you will feel ultra cultured in the process. Make sure to visit Loch an Iuir close to Errigal – it has a beautiful lake there
  • Pack all types of clothes – no matter the season! Especially a good pair of walking shoes. Donegal is riddled with scenic roads and lanes to explore. Downings has a fantastic Atlantic walk but make sure to bring a waterproof jacket even if the sun is shining when you’re leaving
  • Buy a packet of Tayto crisps and a bottle of Club Orange in the local pub
  • Go hunting for mussels (safely and ethically) and then take them back to your holiday home and cook them with white wine and cream. Serve with a crusty baguette and you’re in heaven.
  • If you get carsick, take tablets before you go for a day trip – Donegal roads are notoriously windy so be prepared and drive safely!
  • Be prepared for moments of the inspiration to write poetry at random locations because it is that beautiful!