If there’s one thing that comes to people’s minds when thinking about my destination, Ireland, it’s pubs. When in Dublin, though, it becomes clear that Ireland is by no means a one-trick
pony when it comes to good food and drink; from classy Irish restaurants to famous cafés, Dublin is teeming with choices when it comes to picking a meal to go with your 5th pint of Guinness.
I must admit, when I first arrived I made a beeline for the nearest pub. I didn’t have to look far – Dublin alone has over 600 pubs. I found a pub just outside the airport called The Coachman’s Inn, and had my first pint of the trip. It was a fine pub, but I knew Dublin had more to offer. What I recommend is that you either ask the locals or at least find a decent website to guide you to Dublin’s best.
First stop: Bewley’s Oriental Café. Bewley’s was founded in 1840 and is now the biggest importer of coffee in Ireland. The café itself was actually built in 1927 and is one of Dublin’s real gems. If hoping for a glimpse of your favourite Irish star, this might be a good place to start – the Café is known to be frequented by the likes of U2 and Bob Geldof. However, I didn’t go to Bewley’s for its living patrons so much as for its dead ones. The great author James Joyce used to come here, and the Café even named a room after him. Bewley’s Café might just be the perfect spot to read Dubliners. Authors and musicians aside, the Café’s theatre (I was treated to some classy Jazz act) and beautiful stained-glass windows make it worth a visit alone.
For famous pubs, I first headed to The Cobblestone, a popular “Trad” pub (Trad stands for traditional!). Once I’d gotten over the initial disappointment that The Cobblestone isn’t actually built out of cobblestone, I really dug the music and atmosphere. With nightly live Trad music playing there, it’s worth visiting even if you’re not planning on drinking. Next came The Brazen Head, which is supposedly the oldest pub in Ireland, dating back to 1198. Might I find some cobblestone here? As it turns out, nearly; its attractive exterior is built from bricks which give off a distinctive ‘Ye Olde Castle’ kind of vibe. Another great pub for live music, what most stood out for me was one of the bars, which was covered in signed notes of all different currencies. I wonder how many people have tried to steal one over the years? The Macardles Ale was particularly nice there, but for a taste of beer unique to Dublin, Microbreweries are
definitely the way to go. I’ll let you find them, because that’s half the fun…trust me.
After my pub crawl, I finally decided to visit a proper Irish restaurant … And ended up with a kebab. Close enough. I don’t remember much about it, but I’m pretty sure that in my drunken haze it tasted like the best food I’d ever eaten.
I think it’s fair to say my trip to Dublin was a success, but next time I should probably try and prove my point about Dublin not just being about the pubs …
|Meet the Author: Louis Jobin
Louis Jobin is an undergraduate studying English and Japanese Studies. His passions are European literature, Asian cuisine and Scandinavian music.