(Once a month the three writers behind ComeHereToMe, joined by a small group of friends, visit five Dublin pubs and then write about their experiences. A different person each month picks the five pubs and they make sure not to give away any details. What fun.)
A successful pub crawl essentially needs two things: good company and first class drinking establishments. A bonus feature is sunny weather. Last Sunday’s CHTM! pub crawl had all three.
Kicking off at about 3pm after a enjoyable and educational stop at the Irish Jewish Museum, myself, CHTM! poster CMurray, CHTM! crawl stalwarts JFlood and Hammy and CHTM! crawl regular ANagle, who was starting with us for the first time (she usually joins us after the second or third pub) set off from Portobello.
Crossing over the Robert Emmet Bridge at the Grand Canal, we made our way into the lovely old village of Harold’s Cross, named after “a cross erected to mark the extent of the lands of the Archbishop of Dublin and to warn the Harold family of Rathfarnham not to encroach”. This was an area I knew relatively well because of getting the 16 bus through it often enough to friends in Ballinteer and because of attending a number of funerals and cremations at Mount Jerome Cemetery. However, it’s not an area I would usually drink or dine in. So, four out of the five pubs were new to me.
With a bit of pre-planning on my side and a lot of luck with the weather, we were able to enjoy the sun, in the three nice beer gardens of the first three pubs, and then as it got darker and colder, the well respected Guinness in the last three, more traditional pubs.
So, with the sun shining down on us, we strolled the ten minutes up to the first pub Rosie O’Grady’s, the furthest one away. An imposing red building, we entered in through the side entrance, beside the car park. Entering, we could see a carvery doing brisk trade on our right, a lovely looking beer garden straight ahead and a long bar to our left.
Taking advantage of the comparatively quiet Sunday afternoon football drinking sessions, Rosie O’Grady’s has started doing a ’3 pints for 10e’ offer during football matches. With most feeling it was far too sunny and warm to start on the Guinness, we got pints of Bulmers and took them out to the beer garden. (It should be noted here that the lovely bartender, when one of us ordered the 3 pints for 10e, offered to keep one of the pints on tap for us for collection we needed it). CMurray noted this was rare for someone to do for a non local. How friendly.
The beer garden was busy enough with tables being occupied by a mixture of families and groups of friends. A couple of heads were turned towards whatever football match was on the tiny little TV in the corner. Not long after settling in, we were joined by DFallon who had been on the Irish History Podcast’s Viking tour guide.
With the deal too hard to resist, another round was bought. CMurray, who hadn’t eaten since little after 8:00am, decided try to try out their Pork Cavery. Seemingly satisfied, he finished the plate.
Criminally cheap pints (when football matches are on), friendly bar staff and a decent sized beer garden definitely made Rosie O’Grady’s a hit for most of us.
Making our way back into town now, our next stop was Peggy Kelly’s just opposite the park and Mount Jerome Cemetery. Though they offered wide selection of European and International bottled beers, most of us stayed on the Bulmers which came out at a fairly average 4.85.
Though they had an enclosed smoking area, we decided to take our pints out to a couple of picnic tables they had to the left hand side of the pub, essentially in the car park. The location wasn’t great and I doubt we would of took those seats if it wasn’t sunny but it has to be said there were nicer tables out towards the front entrance of the beer which were taken.
At Peggy Kelly’s we were joined by messrs. JBrophy, pub crawl veteran, LMcGlynn (surprisingly) pub crawl virgin and birthday boy and near enough local, NDunne. Though I have nothing really against Peggy Kelly’s, I don’t see really why you’d go out of your way to head there unless your going for some post-cemetery action pints.
Following the Harold’s Cross Road back into town, our third resting point was Sean Mac D’s which has only opened in the last few months. I immediately took to the place. Lots of space. The colours of the walls and decorations were soft on the eyes. The place was busy (always a good sign) but we managed to find a comfy couch in the corner. Two of us ordered food. It was both delicious and cheap. One of us spotted that a table had been recently vacated in the smoking area, the group pounced. Beside us a gang of people were playing guitars and singing. None of them looked like they’d got any sleep the night before.
It was in the smoking area of Sean Mac D’s that we were joined by our guest of honour Papa Tony. The larger than life, funny, friendly father of JBrophy. Conversation at one side of the table turned to the history of Maynooth, the other side chatted about football. The sun shone. Life was good. A quirky pub, Sean Mac D’s definitely got my thumbs up.
Moving on, we headed further into town and back over the bridge at the canal to our fourth pub, The Harold House. Coming into through the lounge area, our gang, which had now swelled to 10, turned heads. We were loud and boisterous compared to the quiet pub which only had a few locals sitting around engrossed in conversation. The bartender was happy when we shuffled our way out to the beer garden, which to be fair, wasn’t exactly nice on the eye. Old tables, empty kegs and a security camera were all to keep us company. The pints were good though, that’s probably the most important thing.
The Harold House, Clanbrassil Street. Credit - skylens.
Our last stop on the pub crawl was Francis McKenna’s which is only across the road form The Harold House. Deceivingly small, the pub was packed full of friendly locals who joked with us and enquired about what brought us into their boozer.
Francis "real pubs don
The Guinness came in at a steal at €4 and was lovely. The bar itself was oddly decorated with dozens of licence plates with English premiership football names on them on the walls. A lot of the clientele were focused on the golf which was being shown on the not too small, not too big TV in the corner. Others played Darts. A rare enough sight these in days in Dublin pubs. Nice place, nice people.
Rosie O’Grady’s, head up when you fancy watching some football on the TV.
Peggy Kelly’s, great selection of international beers.
Sean Mac D’s, great food and beer garden.
The Harold House, for a quiet one.
Francis McKenna’s, for a bit of banter and a game of darts.
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