Why Dublin pub is best in Ireland!
Further east, in Skryne Hill, Co. Meath, O’Connell’s is a throwback to a bygone era. Travel writer Guyan Mitra says the only way to check you haven't traveled back in time is by checking the dates on the newspaper. O'Connell's, which is perched at the top of Skryne Hill, has been used in Guinness adverts because of its stunning location.
In Kinsale, the Bulman often makes the best-of lists, particularly for its food. It even has its own pier to help source the crab claws which are a specialty dish.
Further south, (although not quite in the Antarctic!) the South Pole Inn in Annascaul, Co. Kerry is a a wonderful gem of a place. The bar was founded by Tom Crean in 1927 after he returned from exploring the Antarctic with Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton. It is now restored to its 1920s state (with pictures of Crean on the wall) and also acts as a stop-off point for hikers on the Dingle Peninsula.
Another classic bar is McCarthy's in Fethard, Co. Tipperary. In the past, it was common for Irish pubs in small villages to also serve as undertakers - a tradition that McCarthy's maintains.
But the final mention should probably go to MacCarthy's bar in the West Cork town of Castletownbere. This much-loved pub gained a kind of cult status in 2000 when the hugely popular English writer Pete McCarthy claimed it was the best bar in Ireland.
McCarthy traveled from Co. Cork, in the south of the country, to Co. Donegal, in the north - his rule was that he wouldn't pass any pub that had his name on it.
He was enchanted by the layout of MacCarthy's, describing the front half as a "grocer's shop with seats for drinkers," and the back half as a "bar with groceries.”
McCarthy - who died in 2004 - said he managed to live the Irish pub dream one night after he was invited to stay on in MacCarthy's after hours for a private party. He finds himself “in the dream Irish pub of the popular romantic imagination – dimly lit, past midnight, shelves piled with obscure groceries, a buzz of conversation and a whoosh coming from the crowd.”