The 16 remaining original Victorian era pubs of Dublin

Millions of people flock to Dublin every year for a chance to see up close, just what makes a Dublin pub so special. For most, the older the better. There is no shortage of authentically traditional pubs in the city, but as the decades go by, the numbers drop. Some of the best pubs in Dublin were built in the Victorian era, which stretched from 1837 to 1901. Many of these remain to this day and retain the majority of their original fixtures and their Victorian characteristics.

In Kevin C. Kearns’ ‘Dublin pub life and lore’, he lists the remaining Victorian pubs still in operation today. Sincethe book was published, 2 have closed down, Conways on Parnell street and Regans on Tara street. Here we will go through the remaining pubs and just why they are worth preserving and why they are part of Dublin’s rich heritage and remain some of the best places to go for a pint.

Interesting to note is that most of these pubs have snugs, which are a rare sight in modern pubs.

The Palace bar, Fleet street

palace

The Palace bar is still richly celebrated as one of the most traditional bars in the city, drawing in tourists from the Temple Bar area looking for a more authentic experience. A pub where writers, journalists, artists, and others have congregated for decades. They still have a great tradition of supporting the GAA and traditional music. They have a lovely traditional snug and have moved with the times by offering a good selection of Irish craft beer.

Toners, Baggot street

toners

Toners has a reputation of having one of the best pints of Guinness in the city according to Rory Guinness, a descendant of Arthur. It still retains its character on the inside and they have tried to recreate it in their newer beer garden. The snug was in recent years voted best in the country.

Doheny and Nesbitt, Baggot street

doheny

A pub mostly associated with journalists and the local business crowd, Dohenys is still very much traditional. It’s a big rugby pub, and they also have traditional music from Sunday to Tuesday nights.

 

The Swan, Aungier street

One of our favourite pubs in the city. The fixtures remain the same, and they proudly boast of their status as a Victorian era heritage pub. You can still see signs behind the bar that advertise ‘Colour TV available here’ from when the bar started to modernise in terms of what they offer.

 

The Long Hall, Georges street

One of the quintessential Dublin pubs for those visiting and looking for a bit of tradition. Bruce Springsteen is known to drink here when he’s in town, and who could argue with his taste. The walls are decorated with muskets, antique clocks, and other period paraphernalia. A Dublin classic.

 

Slatterys, Capel street

Slatterys is listed in the book as being a Victorian era pub, but there have been some recent renovations. These were mostly of the upper floor, so it shouldn’t affect the pubs Victorian status. It is also one of the few remaining early houses in the city, opening early in the morning for those who work unsociable hours.

 

The Stag’s Head, Dame Lane

stags

The jewel in the crown of the Louis Fitzgerald pub group, and one of the most recognisable pub names in the city. There’s a large snug room behind the bar that is extremely cosy and retains a stained glass ceiling. If you see footage of the pub from the 60s and 70s you could barely tell the difference to today, bar the increase in taps on the counter.

 

Ryans, Parkgate street

ryansparkgate

Also known as Bongo Ryans, it has one of the most sought after snugs in the city. Like all Victorian pubs, it features large ornately carved wooden dividers that break up the bar.

 

The International Bar, Exchequer street

Best known as the home of stand up comedy in the city. The main bar is quite a small space, but it’s one of the most homely in the city.

Gaffneys, Fairview

The Hut, Phibsboro

Bowes, Fleet street

bowesfront

Bowes recently reopened their new snug after a bit of a refurb. Plans were underway to expand the bar into the neighbouring Doyles and ladbrokes, but the planning permission was turned down. this may well be a good thing for admirers of Bowes, as it will retain all the makes it good.

Kehoes, South Anne street

Such is the popularity of Kehoes, it can be hard to get a seat in this well worn and well loved pub. When full, it can appear to be a bit of a mazey design, with creaking stairs taking you to areas you wouldn’t expect existed. The snug beside the bar to the left as you walk in is a fine place to meet with friends.

Finnegans, Dalkey

 

Cassidys, Camden street

Come in here on a Sunday after an All Ireland final and you’ll fear for the safety of the structure! It heaves with fans adoring both the victorious Dubs and this fine pub. Bill Clinton stopped in here for a pint in the 90s on a presidential visit.

 

The Norseman, East Essex street

When the book we are referencing from was published, this pub was known as The Norseman, it then became Farringtons, and it has now reverted back to The Norseman. A fine treat for visitors to Temple Bar to be able to have a pint in an original Victorian era pub.

There are a number of other pubs that have strong characteristics of the Victorian age, but are not clasically Victorian, including…

  • Mulligans Poolbeg street
  • Mulligans Stoneybatter
  • Hanlons North Circular road
  • Kavanaghs Aughrim street
  • The Gravediggers Glasnevin
  • McDaids Harry street
  • The Lord Edward Christchurch
  • The Portobello Rathmines
  • Slatterys Rathmines
  • The Brazen Head Bridge street
  • Searsons Baggot street
  • Sandyford House

 

Source

Advertisements

By Public Transit From Dublin…

Hikes, Vistas and Seafood, All for a Song

For its vertical limestone cliffs and unspoiled sea views, Ireland’s dramatic western coastline may get top billing. But visitors to Dublin hoping to catch a glimpse of the rugged beauty of the Emerald Isle needn’t spend extra hours and expense traveling west. For little more than the cost of a pint, they can hop on Dublin Area Rapid Transit, or DART, the city’s electric rail network that winds roughly 30 miles along the eastern coastline, for convenient under-an-hour escapes. The following day trips — whose draws include staggeringly scenic sea cliffs that are destinations in their own right, a James Joyce museum and, no surprise, excellent seafood and beer — promise memorable, and frugal, additions to any Dublin vacation. (Factor in maximum prices for “the Dort,” the Dublin Bus, and the Luas light rail tram system — at 10 euros a day, $12.20 at $1.22 to the euro, or 40 euros a week — and travel costs become even cheaper.) And while wintertime daily highs average in the mid-40s, confining swimming to only the hardiest souls, with views like these, who needs a dip in the ocean?

Sandycove

About 30 minutes by DART from central Dublin (6 euros for a round-trip ticket, or 4.82 euros when purchased with a prepaid Leap card), the village of Sandycove has one pub, one bistro and little more than a handful of other storefronts. Its main lure is the sea, most notably at the Forty Foot, a (free) bathing spot set among a promontory of rocky outcroppings, with its “Gentlemens Bathing Place” metal sign still intact, though no longer enforced. It is popular year-round — especially on Christmas Day, when hundreds of swimmers line up along its stone steps to plunge into the icy waters in what has become an annual tradition.

On the chilly autumn afternoon I visited, I watched a steady stream of seasoned bathers peel off their jackets and sweaters to bathe in the frigid sea, among them Caineach Brady, a 67-year-old Dublin priest who said he swims two to three times a week at the Forty Foot through winter. “It’s absolutely wonderful, the sea against skin,” Father Brady said. I got my feet wet, but demurred at the thought of a full dip, and instead soaked in views of the sea and the sprightly swimmers.

IMG_1453IMG_1458

Sandycove’s other main attraction, just beyond the Forty Foot, is the stone Martello tower where James Joyce had stayed for six fateful nights when he was 22, and provided the setting for the opening scene of “Ulysses.” After a six-month renovation, the James Joyce Tower and Museum (free admission) reopened in April. I pored over a small, captivating collection on the first floor that contained various first editions and other rare books that included a 1935 printing of “Ulysses” with illustrations by Henri Matisse, and a hodgepodge assortment of Joyce’s possessions: a guitar, a leather cabin trunk, a checkered tie he gave to Samuel Beckett, and his last cane.

James Joyce Tower

But it was when I left the first floor that things got more intimate. I climbed my way up an extremely narrow, winding set of very short stone steps — each was about half the length of my foot — and found myself in a re-creation of the “gloomy domed livingroom” Joyce had described in “Ulysses,” with an iron-framed single bed covered with a tattered blanket pushed up against one wall, and a hammock slung across a corner nearby. Up another set of tightly wound steps, and I was on the circular rooftop of the 40-foot tower, with superb views of the endless expanse of Dublin Bay.

“The snotgreen sea” was how the “Ulysses” character Buck Mulligan described it, but as I stood where he made his pronouncement, I couldn’t help but think that description was ungenerous. With waves crashing onto the sharp-edged gray rocks below, sea gulls squawking plaintively above and the heady smell of salt in the air, the turquoise-gray water before me felt meditative, mystical and potent.

Bray

Five stops south of Sandycove on the DART, and about 40 minutes from central Dublin (6.65 euros for a round-trip ticket, or 5.74 euros prepaid) lies the town of Bray, which in the mid-19th century had been one of the country’s largest seaside resorts. During a visit in late October, I found its beachfront — whose sandy stretch gives way to a wide swathe of gorgeously smooth, oval stone — calming and restorative, dotted with just the occasional kite flyer and dog walker, as well as another brave swimmer.

But I found real tranquillity when I ambled along the roughly four-mile Cliff Walk, a stunning coastline path hugging the side of the nearly 800-foot-high Bray Head that squashed my long-held belief that the more challenging a hike, the greater the payoff. The Cliff Walk has a gentle incline (less than 400 feet from bottom to top), picnic tables and benches generously scattered about for frequent rest breaks, and beautiful low stone walls and wire cliff railings in place for much of the path. In return, it affords views of strikingly scenic slate cliffs and Dublin Bay’s thousand shades of blue while winding past stretches of shoulder-height fern and patches of flowering yellow gorse. Out there, I found colors so sharp and vivid, it was as if they had been passed through a saturation filter.

The walk ends in the quaint town of Greystones, whose DART station marks the southern extent of the train line. I popped on a waiting train back to Bray (3.15 euros for a one-way ticket, or 2.41 euros prepaid) where I rested my legs and ordered a crisp flatbread loaded with shrimp, sweet red peppers and caramelized onion (9 euros) at the year-and-a-half-old Platform Pizza Bar, easily the most stylish — and eye-catching — restaurant in town, housed in what resembles a slate-gray shipping container across from Bray’s mile-long beachfront promenade.

Revitalized, I went off to explore the town’s beer scene, starting first at the Porterhouse Bray, the original brewpub that belongs to one of Ireland’s earliest and largest microbreweries, which now has pubs in Dublin, London and New York. I parked myself in front of a roaring fireplace and sampled its super smooth Plain Porter (4.50 euros) followed by its Oyster Stout (4.50 euros), a spicy, bitter beer that takes its name from the fresh oysters used during preparation. Both came dark, cold and with luxuriously creamy heads.

Harbour Bar

I whiled away the rest of the evening at the nearly 150-year-old Harbour Bar, voted the “best bar in the world” in 2010 by Lonely Planet. It was also a haunt of Peter O’Toole, who gave it a giant moosehead decades before taxidermy-lined drinking dens came into (and went out of) vogue. It’s now a warren of cozy rooms brimming with bric-a-brac large and small — framed nautical knots, an Underwood typewriter, a rowboat — serving an excellent selection of beers like the beautifully nuanced amber ale from Wicklow Wolf (5.30 euros), a brewery just a five-minute walk away.

Howth

About 30 minutes on the DART from central Dublin (6 euros for a round-trip ticket, or 4.82 euros prepaid), Howth has a distinctly different mood from Bray: there’s a sandy beach, but it’s not visible from the center of town, unlike the working harbor. And compared with Bray’s Cliff Walk, the Howth Head walk, whose shortest loop runs 3.7 miles around the Howth Peninsula that juts into the Irish Sea, feels less cosseted and more raw.

In late October, when I attempted the walk, I wavered between feeling exhilarated and nerve-racked when the path wound dizzyingly close to the edge of the steep sea cliffs with their precipitous drops and noticeable absence of safety railings. (The misting rain didn’t help either, nor did the abundant “Dangerous Cliffs” signs.)

But I continued on, and I’m glad I did. I passed fields of purple heather and brushed up against bright-green moss-covered stones. And when I approached the summit, I had to agree with H.G. Wells’s description in his 1918 novel “Joan and Peter” of the view from Howth Head as “one of the most beautiful views in the world.” Cliffs now seemed to drop gently into the sea, enveloped in cascading blankets of tawny-colored heathland before the white Baily Lighthouse, which stood at the peninsula’s tip. Shafts of light cut through the clouds, and across Dublin Bay, I made out the looming shapes of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains.

Elated by the view, I headed back to town, where I angled for a seat at Crabby Jo’s, a popular restaurant attached to the Wrights of Howth fish market, more than a century old. As I warmed myself with a bowl of seafood chowder (5.95 euros), I became convinced all chowders would benefit from the addition of smoked haddock, whose rich, salty flavor permeated the creamy version at Crabby Jo’s. I also ordered the open crab sandwich, two lumps of fresh-tasting Kilmore Quay crab tossed with diced apple and celery on a bed of arugula and shallots on dense, crumbly brown bread (9.95 euros).

On a warmer trip, picnic options along the edge of the water abound, including piping-hot fried hake with chips from Beshoff Bros. (8.95 euros), and a messier alternative in whole smoked mackerel with a loaf of bread from Nicky’s Plaice (5 euros, fish priced by weight), a no-frills fish market near the end of the Western Pier. But I was just as happy to be enjoying a nourishing meal in a spot perfect for a wintry Dublin getaway.

Source