Travelling around Ireland, whether it's for a weekend or a summer(!), the craic and atmosphere we have here is unbeatable. We truly have some of the best spots in the world, some less known and some unmissable. This is our list of those you need to add to your list!
Every guide book will bring you to the familiar spots, but what we are after here is the quirky, unusual and unique watering holes. Thankfully, Ireland has a heap, but these few are just our picks of ones that have captured our interest, and hopefully yours too.
The Red Bank Wine Tavern, Dublin 2.
You have probably walked by this gem a hundred times. This intimate wine bar, located just off Grafton Street in the basement of the Duke Gallery. Red Bank is the perfect place to meet friends for a glass of wine. It's a quirky kind of place, but cosy... a quaint room with exposed brick and fairy lights dangling from the ceiling.
If you get peckish, you can order pizza from the bar and get one of the best pizzas in Dublin from the guys at Dublin Pizza Company. The hours aren't set, they will serve until the last man is standing or Kellan has called it a night.
Grace Neills, Donaghadee, Co Down.
Claiming to be Ireland's oldest pub, it dates back to 1611. Grace Neills ran the inn from the 19th to 20th century and, as the legend goes, it seems that she never left! Several portraits of her are said to gaze down to keep a watchful eye of all her punters. Slow footsteps have been heard from the rooms upstairs have there has even been reported sightings of Grace on the premises!
Luckily they do a great pint too, so whether you are a ghostbuster or stopping off for a drop on your travels and maybe take in a scenic walk on the Donaghadee Harbour too, then this pub is for you.
McBrides Irish Pub, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan.
McBrides is an Irish pub steeped in tradition. It was not unusual in each village in Ireland to have a general merchant, of sorts, that would encapsulate the needs of the community. A pub, post office, grocer, hardware, drapery, petrol station, undertakers, and more! A one-stop-shop if ever there was one.
These are few and far between nowadays, however, this pub still has a multi-faceted business under its roof. As well as being undertakers and a pub, there is also a hardware store inside the bar, with cats and dogs roaming welcome as well as people. People have said that at 10 pm every night, the whole bar pauses and everyone toasts to the dead.
When you go into McBride's you are treated like a local, everyone is welcomed. It holds a special place in many peoples hearts in Ballyjamesduff and has been a meeting point for generation after generation. Long may it continue we say!
The Blue Light, Barnacullia, Co, Dublin.
There is no better place than to be at the Blue Light on a sunny day with a cold drink surrounded by your friends. Located in the Dublin mountains, just a 30-minute drive from the city centre, it is a must-see spot.
Inside there is a wood burning fire and everything you envisioned a rural Irish pub to be. U2 even used to gig here the late 70s! The Blue Light is like a Dublin landmark and any time someone visits Dublin for the first time, this is a spot they need to see.
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I will be turning 32 this month. When I hit 30, I decided to start really celebrating my birthday. I used to use it as an excuse to host a big party, usually themed, just to bring people together. But, 30 really hit me and I’ve started being more reflective. . I never thought my life would look the way it does. In some ways it is much better than I could have anticipated, but I didn’t expect to be where I am or constantly dealing with health issues. . So, to combat the sadness and frustration that comes with each birthday, I’ve been taking epic adventures. It’s been one of my best decisions. Over the next while, I’ll be sharing #throwback pictures from my birthday adventures. This is me in Ireland, celebrating 30 with the greatest tour and group of strangers! . . . . . @ruralpubtours @guinness #birthday #birthdayadventures #milestone #reflections #travel #adventure #explore #followyourheart #traveltheworld #travelgirl #travelheals #travellife #travelstoke #travelawesome #traveldeeper #passionpassport #wanderer #wanderlust #womenwhoexplore #wicklow #thebluelightpub #ireland #tourismireland #thisisireland #lovelettertoeurope
Levi's Corner House, Ballydehob, Co Cork.
There is something very special about Levi's. It is the perfect balance between bizarre and brilliant. Having been in the family for over 100 years, there is such a sense of pride in this place, with pictures of family from past and present. You can order a pint, listen to great music and grab a can of Spam all in the one beautiful space.
Bands from all across Ireland go to Levi's Corner to play. This wouldn't be your normal venue to play in; the family home is a part of the pub and each band is welcomed to stay in the family home the night of the gig. They are cooked a full breakfast and are fully embraced by the whole family. They also run Secret Song Sundays where music bellows through each room, as the ban plays behind this bar, it is a truly a unique venue and a must-visit.
Smugglers Creek Inn, Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal.
This vibrant bar and restaurant is located in the remote area of Rossnowlagh with views of Donegal Bay and the Blue Stack Mountains. As soon as you dawn the door, you will be taken aback by the so very warm welcome you receive here. We know we were!
No matter where you sit in the bar you will get a stunning view. It is truly astounding. There is something so special about this place, not just the hospitality and food, you definitely won't be disappointed if you make the trip.
O'Connell's Bar, Galway
The perfect place to watch a sports match, this traditional-styled pub is bursting with atmosphere, especially on match day.
It was once a small grocery and you can still see the old sweet jars and old Aga cooker in a small snug. Once you walk into the bar, you will enter what appears to be a normal Irish pub, but when you open the back door it leads you into small cosy rooms, each full of interesting trinkets.
Only in the past few years have they renovated it into this trendy hub in Galway city. The Dough Bros are located out in their beer garden, which is excuse enough for us to visit! That said, the beer garden is one of the coolest Galway has to offer, with over 110 gins and 120 whiskeys on offer, you will no doubt have a ball here.
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The Hole in the Wall, Kilkenny City.
Situated in the heart of Kilkenny, even with the aid of a map this place can be a challenge to find, so, word of warning now... keep your eyes peeled!
It is a music venue with some of the best craic Ireland has to offer. Originally an inner house of a Tudor mansion, built in 1582, where you can still see the original oak beams and floorboards. The Hole in the Wall just oozes with character and that's what we love about it.
Are there any places you think we should add to our list? Let us know in the comments below.