O'Donoghue's pub in Dublin
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This week, the Lonely Planet announced that visiting the pubs of Ireland should be top of the list for tourists traveling to the Emerald Isle.
We took this opportunity to put together a list of the top ten pubs, in our humble opinion, to be found in the capital city, Dublin.
This bar is popular with tourists and locals alike - and that makes it unique for a start!
O'Donoghues is famous for its traditional Irish music, and especially for the band The Dubliners, who made a name for themselves here. This is the kind of bar that other "Irish" bars try - usually unsuccessfully - to imitate.
You get the feeling that the pub's bric-a-brac actually evolved over time, rather than being used in a pub design. When it comes to Irish bars, O'Donoghues is the real deal.
2. The Long Hall
The Long Hall, like O'Donoghues, is a great Dublin institution. However, it's not nearly as well-known as O'Donoghues, which means it's much less crowded on weekdays.
It's a terrific bar - it hasn't changed in years, and that can only be a good thing. The clientele ranges from local pensioners to students from Trinity College or Dublin Institute of Technology. Both will be made to feel welcome - as will any tourist in search of a quiet pint and a decent conversation.
51 South Great Georges Street.
3. The Stag's Head
James Joyce was said to be a regular in this pub which is hidden away off a side alley right in the heart of Dublin.
It's a favorite spot with students from nearby Trinity College but it's much, much more than a student hangout. People from all walks of life can be found here although it does tend to get more locals in than tourists. In fact, the tourists are probably searching Temple Bar for something like this. For an authentic Dublin pub experience, The Stag's Head shouldn't be missed.
Odd fact: The pub claims to be the first in Dublin to have installed electricity.
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Imagine having an old Irish house, and turning it into bar. That's the concept behind Kehoe's - the lounge area feels more like the living room of someone's home than anything else, and upstairs, you have to remind yourself that you haven't wandered into someone's bedroom by mistake.
The intimate feeling of this bar is unmistakable - and is very, very hard to reproduce. It's full of nooks and crannies, a sign of how little the place has changed in so many years. Because Kehoe's is located just off Grafton Street, one of the main shopping streets in Dublin, it's usually packed in the evenings during the week, often frequented by the "work crowd."
9 Anne Street South.
5. The Dawson Lounge
Not a place to have a big party, or to invite your extended Irish family - for the simple reason that this is the smallest pub in Dublin, and can only hold about 20 people. For this reason alone, the Dawson Lounge is worth checking out.
25 Dawson Street.
6. The Cobblestone
This is the place to go for traditional Irish music.
Although it's a bit of a hike from the city center, it can be well worth the taxi ride to get here.
In the front bar, traditional Irish music provides the soundtrack to people swapping stories and sharing jokes.
There is no admission charge for these sessions. There is also a concert venue for which there is a cover charge. Both tend to be excellent value for money.
7. Sin É
This bar tends to attract a younger crowd than some of other bars on this list. It's still pretty laid back, a bit studenty and devoid of anything close to resembling pretension. It's also well regarded for its music; they host traditional Irish music during the week, as well as DJ sets on at the weekend.
14 15 Upper Ormond Quay.
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Stepping into Hartigan's is like stepping back in time. A much, much simpler time, when the only food to be had was a bag of potato chips or perhaps a ham and cheese sandwich.
The great thing about this bar is that, short of some terrible disaster like a renovation, this is the way it will always be.
The Guinness here is great - although there mightn't be much else on offer. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea (or Guinness for that matter) with its ancient décor and furniture - but it's worth going into for a pint at least.
The older woman who runs this place pulls the meanest pint of Guinness in town. Whatever you do, don't mess with her - your life won't be worth living.
100 Lower Leeson St.
9. The Globe
Most of the bars on this list are traditional gems which haven't really changed much in years. The Globe doesn't fall into this category. It wants to be trendy and stylish and largely it succeeds.
True, it's the kind of place where the barmen don't feel the need to be friendly, or even serve the pint of Guinness, because they'd rather be at home working on their movie script. But as trendy Dublin bars go, The Globe is easily the best.
It's also a late bar seven nights a week (most bars open till 12.30 am during the week), meaning that it opens until 2.30 am from Monday to Saturday, and 1 am on Sundays.
/ 11 South Great Georges Street.
A few doors down from The Globe, and a bar that attracts pretty much the same crowd.
However, Hogan's has much more space and has a downstairs dance floor which is invariably packed at the weekends. Especially popular with bike messengers, for some reason.
35-37 South Great Georges Street.