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Food and Drink

14th Apr 2019

The Ultimate Bucket List Of Ireland’s Most Charming And Oldest Pubs


There’s something special about our pubs.

While you can find many ‘Irish pubs’ around the world, nothing quite beats sitting in an authentic Irish tavern right on our own soil.

There’s some really old and unique pubs around that have been around for centuries.

And it can be difficult to find hidden gems that are rustic, old-fashioned and also have a nice lively atmosphere.

Well lucky for you, we’ve come up with the ultimate bucket list of Ireland’s most charming and oldest pubs that you need to check out at least once in your life.

Ah go on…

1. The Brazen Head, Dublin

The famous Dublin spot is renowned to be one of Ireland’s oldest pub, it even says it on the plaque outside.

The Brazen Head is located just off Merchants Quay on Lower Bridge Street and is said to have been around since 1198.

The tavern has been the local of many historical figures including James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Wolfe Tone and Michael Collins to name but a few.

It still has many rustic features and is riddled with its history, making it the perfect place to have a pint in Dublin.

2. The Old Thatch, Killeagh, Co.Cork

The Old Thatch in Killeagh is known as the oldest thatched pub in Ireland.

The famous pub has been around since 1667. Woah.

It is situated on the main street in Killeagh Village in the east part of Cork.

The Old Thatch even whips up some delicious meals too. Yum!



3. Moran’s, Westport, Co.Mayo

This tiny little pub on Bridge Street in Westport is a hidden gem.

And Moran’s has a unique old feature, it sells all the shopping essentials as well.

So why not sit down for a hearty pint of Guinness and a chat with the friendly bartenders and also pick up a few messages on the way home.

It’s full of history and is a popular spot for locals.

You have to visit it at least once.



4. The Long Hall, Dublin

The Victorian style pub on South Great George’s Street is as snug as it can get.

The Long Hall has been open since 1766 and is one of Dublin’s oldest and most beautiful little pubs and it absolutely oozes charm.

The interior dates from 1881 with gold leaf enhancements and beautifully handcrafted wood carvings.

There is always a warm and friendly atmosphere in The Long Hall and pulls great pints of Guinness.

5. O’Lochlainn’s, Ballyvaughan, Co.Clare

The small pub is tucked away down a little street but is really a little hidden gem.

O’Lochlainn’s has a great selection of Irish whiskeys and has a small stove, a few seats and it really is authentic as you can get.

If you’re ever in Clare, you need to visit the cute little spot for a drink (or two).

6. M O’Shea’s, Borris, Co.Carlow

The charming little rural pub has been owned by the O’Shea family for many, many generations.

The most renowned feature is probably the Victorian parlour and lounge that it has.

M O’Shea’s has been unspoiled over the years, and it feels as if you are walking into a museum.

We love it.


(images: O’Sheas/Facebook)

7. Smugglers Creek Inn, Rossnowlagh, Co.Donegal

If you’re looking for a pub with a view, this is the place to go.

The cute little spot is only open every Friday until Sunday, so you would want to plan ahead.

The bar overlooks Rossnowlagh bay, so nothing sounds better than sitting outside with a bite to eat and a cold pint.

Smugglers Creek Inn also has rustic brick walls, old timber beams and plenty of bric-a-brac, giving it that extra cozy feel.

It’s also a B&B, so a trip away anyone?

8. Sean’s Bar, Athlone, Co.Westmeath

This bar is said to date back to 900, making it the oldest pub in Ireland according to the Guinness Book Of World Records.

Sean’s Bar is nestled in Athlone, and the bar always has a lively atmosphere where many tourists flock to it because really, it’s very cute and rustic.

9. The Beach Bar, Aughris, Co.Sligo

The family run business has been around for 300 years and if you are around that part of Sligo, you really need to check it out at some point.

Because it is very authentic.

The traditional thatched pub and restaurant is located right at the unspoiled Aughris beach in Sligo bay.

We can picture nothing better right now than sitting and looking at the peaceful Atlantic waves.

The Beach Bar is definitely an old-style pub that you need to see for yourself.

10. Jim O’ the Mills, Upperchurch, Co. Tipperary

This Tipperary pub only opens up one night a week, seriously.

Jim O’ the Mills only opens on a Thursday night but the craic is to be had there.

From trad sessions including fiddles, bodhráns and high quality sing alongs, you really cannot afford to miss it.

Thursday night plans = sorted.

11. B J Morahan’s, Ballinagare, Co.Roscommon

The pub has been around since at least 1641 and the Morahan family is one of the oldest in the town in Roscommon.

It also functions as a shop so you can pick up some pieces before you leave.

12. Foxy John’s, Dingle, Co. Kerry

The half pub, half hardware store is located at the top of Main Street in Dingle and must be seen for itself.

Foxy John’s not only whips up great pints, but you can also hire out bikes there or get your hardware needs.

It’s everything mashed into one and it’s great.



13. Edward J Valentines, Deanscurragh, Co.Longford

The charming pub has stunning stone walls and an open fire which would be perfect to sit down in front of on a cold autumn’s day.

The homely Edward J Valentines is one of the top charming pubs in the country.

Plus, there is always a great atmosphere.

14. McHughs, Queen’s Square, Belfast

This is the oldest pub in Belfast and is also in the oldest building.

McHughs dates all the way back to 1711 and now is a busy popular location with a restaurant as well.

It has a homely feel with open fires and local music during the week, so there is something for everyone.

The walls are covered with newspaper reports and pictures of Belfast’s history.

15. Grace Neill’s, Donaghadee, Co. Down

Grace Neill’s has one the oldest pub deeds, dating all the way back to 1611. Wow.

The pub in Co. Down was formerly known as ‘The Kings Arms’ for over 400 years.

The Donaghadee pub serves delicious food and the bar got its name from Grace Neill who was given the bar as a wedding present by her father.

16. Kyteler’s Inn, Co.Kilkenny

The historic pub in the heart of Kilkenney town was established by Dame Alice de Kyteler in 1263.

It is one of the oldest inns in Ireland and is renowned for its music, drinks and lively atmospshere.

It was refurbished in the 1960s and bought over by present owner, Nicky Flynn.

Kyteler’s Inn got it’s top floor renovated into a large space called The Top Bar in 2008 and is hot with the locals.

It’s a great place to go for a few drinks and to listen to some music.

17. The Crosskeys Inn, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim

The thatched stone built cottage is one of Ireland’s most famous traditional music pubs.

Crosskeys Inn dates back to 1654 and is situated just off the main Randalstown to Portglenone road in Antrim.

The whitewashed walls and stone floors are still intact and the open turf fire, really makes the inn a hot authentic spot.

Maybe you’ll stop by sometime on your way to Belfast, it is definitely worth it.

Have you been to any of these?

If we’ve missed any old, rustic pubs make sure to let us know in the comments below!

header images: theladycarol/Instagram, remybaz/Instagram and crosskeys_inn/Instagram

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