21 Fleet Street
A short stroll from Temple Bar’s cobbled streets, the Palace Bar is often said to be the perfect example of an old Dublin pub. Step into the beautiful snug with its mirrors and wooden niches in which many a historic meeting has taken place, or the back room with its high ceiling and ornate stained glass, where literary stock used to gather. Flann O’Brien and Harry Kernoff were regulars, and the Palace Bar became one of Dublin’s great literary pubs. An advertisement published in the “Where to drink Guide 1958” adorns the wall and says: “Internationally famous also for its intellectual refreshment.”
Just a short drive away from Dublin’s city centre, there are some amazingly high quality courses waiting to be discovered. A few miles north of the city, golfing options include Royal Dublin, Portmarnock Links and the lesser-known St Anne’s Golf Club. To the west, are top-class parkland tracks like the K Club and Rathsallagh. To the south, quick road connections lead to County Wicklow and championship courses such as Druid’s Glen and The European Club.
And when it comes to enjoying a pint or two after your round, there’s no shortage of 19th holes in the city. “A good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub,” wrote James Joyce in Ulysses. Little has changed since Joyce penned his classic novel and Dublin’s approximately 800 pubs are still the hubs of social life summed up in that famous Irish word, the “craic”. Here are the pubs you must visit to end the day right. Enjoy your rounds!
8 Poolbeg Street
Once a working-class drinking man’s pub, this brilliant old boozer is another virtually unchanged over the years. Established in 1782, its main claim to fame is a perfectly poured pint of Guinness and the colourful crew of regulars who are considered experts on the subject. Over the years Mulligan’s has attracted a mixed bag including former US President John F Kennedy and it also featured as the local in the film My Left Foot starring Daniel Day Lewis as Christy Brown.
Grogan’s Castle Lounge
15 South William Street
Known among regulars simply as Grogan’s, this city centre institution is a favourite haunt among painters, writers, bohemians and alternatives. From the street, not much can be seen through the lace curtains, but once you go through the door it’s like stepping into someone’s living room. The actor Brad Pitt became a local here to help him soak up the Irish atmosphere, while working on the movie Snatch.
2 Suffolk Street
Granted the James Joyce award for being an authentic Dublin pub, O’Neill’s has existed as licensed premises for over 300 years. Featuring five bars and numerous alcoves and snugs all of which attract a different clientele and age group, from students and lecturers at nearby Trinity College, to busy city traders and lovers of the arts and theatre. As an added bonus, O’Neill’s is one of 220 Irish pubs with special beer-dispensing tap tables, where customers can pour their own Guinness without the interminable wait for the barman to put the shamrock in the froth. Taps on the tables are linked to kegs behind the bar and customers leave their credit card to pay for a given number of pints.
51 South Great George’s Street
Backing onto Dublin Castle, the Long Hall is one of Dublin’s most beautiful and best-loved watering holes. Although very much a locals’ pub, many visitors come to experience the evocative atmosphere and full Victorian splendour with an ornately carved bar, elegant chandeliers and a pendulum clock more than 200 years old.
48 Temple Bar
Slap bang in the centre of the tourist area of the same name, vibrant red Temple Bar (also known as Flannery’s) has the most photographed pub façade in Dublin, if not the whole world. Not the kind of place to go for a quiet pint with the locals, as it’s usually wall-to-wall with visitors. But it’s still a good ‘craic’ and has all the right ingredients with traditional musicians and a lively atmosphere.
28 Parkgate Street
Located just a few sips of the black stuff away from the Guinness Storehouse across the River Liffey, Ryan’s of Parkgate Street (established in the 1890s) is well worth a visit. It is one of only a handful of city pubs that has retained its Victorian décor virtually intact, and boasts an original oval-shaped mahogany bar, magnificent stained glass and walls decorated with an outstanding collection of antique gilt mirrors advertising various products sold at the turn of the 20th century.
A great way to learn more about Dublin’s pub culture, history and its literary associations is to take the Literary Pub Crawl. It’s a guided tour by Colm Quilligan and other actors who perform humorous extracts from Dublin’s best-known writers in some of the city’s best-loved drinking establishments. “We were a band of unemployed actors doing entertainment in pubs,” says Quilligan. “It was a natural fusion of the two ideas and a great way of legitimising the pub lifestyle.”
Guinness Storehouse & Gravity Bar
What would Dublin’s pubs be without Guinness stout? No ‘Pubs and Golf Clubs’ visit to the Irish capital would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate, where you’ll learn plenty about the world famous beer including the brewing process and the Arthur Guinness story. After you have seen how it’s made, it’s time to taste the famous product. Hovering above the roof of the Storehouse is the Gravity Bar, and with a pint of Guinness in hand and incredible 360-degree views over the streets of Dublin, it’s the perfect position to contemplate James Joyce’s puzzle.