The Irish Times in 2015 named a Tipperary pub, which only opens one night a week, as the best pub in Ireland. The column Barfly reviewed 51 pubs, in 19 counties, in 2015 and Jim O’ the Mill, in Upperchurch, Tipperary was dubbed the best based on “readership and social sharing.” The pub with only one beer tap, live music, and a homely feel certainly sounds like the very embodiment of a quintessential Irish pub.
The Times passionate review of the country pub goes so far as calling this the “best pub in the world” and the “beating heart of Ireland.”
Jim O’ the Mill opens only on Thursday nights with a trad session from 9 pm, including fiddles, boxes, and bodhráns brought along by the locals. Run by Jim and Kae Ryan and their five daughters the pub is built into a flag-stoned kitchen and the parlor.
Sean Laffey in Irish Music Magazine described it thus: "A corrugated Church kind of sets the tone for Jim O'The Mills. Homemade, improvised, agrarian, pragmatic. Finding the pub is easy if you know where it is.
"If you are new to the country you will need a local guide. Jim O'The Mills sits anonymously in plain clothes dressed as a small farmhouse, nestled in a dip in the road. Just ask for the metal bridge and you'll be in the right vicinity. There are no Guinness or Harp signs, no fancy sun umbrellas, no cheerful boards proclaiming Ceol agus Craic. You wouldn't suspect it of being a drinking house so blended is it into the rural community".
It’s no wonder reviewers fell in love with the place. Here’s a video of one of their famous sessions:
Here are the top ten pubs in Ireland according to the Irish Times:
1. Jim O’ the Mill, Upperchurch, Tipperary
2. J O’Connells, Skryne, County Meath
3. The Long Hall, Georges St, Dublin
4. Sean’s Bar, Athlone, County Westmeath
5. Nora Murphy’s Bar, Brandon, County Kerry
6. John Kavanagh’s (The Gravediggers), Glasnevin, Dublin
7. Kehoe’s, South Anne Street, Dublin 2
8. Grogan’s Castle Lounge, 15 William St South, Dublin 2
9. The Cobblestone in Dublin’s Smithfield
10. The Hanged Man’s pub, Milltown, County Kildare
* Originally published in January 2016.