(Note: Pub Crawl, December 2012 (84 – 88) is on the way. hXci’s notes were stolen by a seagull)
With a little bit of rain being our only obstacle, an eager group of ten of us set off from Windy Arbour Luas stop at 4:30pm Sunday last for the 20th CHTM! pub crawl and the first of 2012.
Seeing as the best of the city centre pubs have been visited as well as the outlying South Dublin neighborhoods (Beggars Bush, Baggot St, Leeson St, Portobello, Ranelagh, Rathmines and Harolds Cross), it was with great pleasure that I was able to bring people out even further and to areas (and pubs) that were unknown to them.
The areas of Windy Arbour and Dundrum made perfect sense as they were easily accessible (due to the Luas) and, more importantly, had five pubs close enough to each other for walking distance.
With everyone more than happy to escape the continuous rain, our first stop of call was The Corner House (aka Kynes).
Our group of ten immediately doubled the number of patrons in the place. Turning into the pub, you’re faced with a long bar on the left and a row of stools and seats on your right.
At the back, there was a TV showing the Aston Villa – Arsenal game (not too loud thankfully) and in the back left hand corner was a Darts board. A small group of local lads played with one eye on the game. (The web tells me that the pub runs a dart team, probably one of a dying breed?)
If you had come through the main door and went straight, instead of right, you would got to the bar area which was empty on this Sunday and presumably only used for busy nights and functions.
A sign advertised a weekly Thursday poker night and it was also nice to see a small row of books at the entrance of the bar for people to read (and perhaps swap).
The lovely pint of stout came in at a very reasonable €4.20. The second cheapest of the day.
The Corner House, formerly known as The Nine Arches (and apparently before that J.D.’s Corner House, and The Millrace), is a pub right in the heart of traditional Shamrock Rovers territory. Their former Milltown stadium is just over five minutes walk away and this pub has not forgotten the fact. On the walls were a couple of Rovers & Glenmalure Park framed pictures. With a Dublin GAA flag on the wall as well, this was a definite football (with a dose of GAA) pub. In many ways, a whole world way from the more rugby orientated pubs that are only down the road.
Leaving after an hour, with everyone seemingly content with both the pint and the general atmosphere of the place, we moved down a few yards to Ryans Arbour House.
We decided to go into the lounge and not the bar. Perhaps a mistake. The lounge area was big, kitsch and soulless. On arrival, a group of lads in their early 30s in the corner turned and stared. One said across to us – “Hey, are you foreigners? – Wanna see my dick?” Charming.
A few others, of a similar age, were dotted around the (massive) lounge. The walls were full of various sized framed pictures, ranging from Shamrock Rovers match programmes to random drawings of horses and everything else in between. A jukebox beside the bar was being used to play the most random collection of dodgy Euro-techno, Country n Western and Soul ballads.
The pint, poured by a very friendly young barman, came in at €4.35 and was perfectly drinkable.
Ryans Arbour House (formerly Windy Arbour House and before that Cosgraves) made the papers a couple of times in the early twentieth century.
Firstly, for selling liquor to ‘non-bona-fide travelers’ in 1915:
Secondly, for being put up for sale later that year:
With no real positive feelings about the place (this could have easily changed perhaps though if we had ventured into the bar), we left and made the five-minute walk to Uncle Toms Cabin.
A very unusually named premises (see 1852 anti-Slavery novel), this large pub dating back to 1878, was the favourite for most people I reckon. First impressions were very encouraging when a middle-aged man, who was sitting in the corner reading a newspaper, gave up his seat so that we could all fit in.
The interior of the place made the most lasting impression. It benefited from very high ceilings, lovely seats and an array of interesting (non tacky) items in glass cases around the pub. For example, I spotted a receipt from a Middle Abbey St. grocers from 1912 tucked in beside some old bottles and books.
The overwhelmingly older patrons (60+) were all smiles and did not seem to mind the sudden arrival of our gang – our numbers now swelled to twelve. The pints came out €4.40, the most expensive of the night but many people thought they were the best. So much so that we all stayed for another one.
James Collins (1860 – 1940), described by The Irish Times as “one of the best-known members of the licensed trade in Dublin”, ran Uncle Toms Cabins for most of the early twentieth century. His name can still be seen written on one of the windows pubs facing the front (see above).
The pub made the news in 1928 when a gas explosion blew out the windows of the building.
I’m nearly certain that the Collins’ family still run the pub today.
Satisfied with stop number three, we set off into rain again and walked up the hill to Dundrum past the old shopping centre. This is old Dundrum where there’s shops and businesses well over a hundred years old. A far cry from the Starbucks and Tesco of the new ‘town centre’. Tucked away on the left as you approach the crossroads is the unassuming Dundrum House (aka Ryans – same family who run the one in Windy Arbour).
We bypassed the relatively large and pleasant bar (where I’ve been quite a few times) for the smaller lounge on the left.
A bar more associated with an older and a rugby crowd, no one, I think, had any real strong feelings about the place. The barman was efficient and pleasant, the pints came out at a standard €4.25 and the decor was discreet.
With bellies growling, we made a welcomed pit stop at Burdocks, across the road, before heading to our last port of call – The Eagle (House) which dates back to at least 1902.
This is the more down to earth, less rugby orientated close neighbour of Dundrum House. Though the same pub, the bar is called The Eagle and the lounge is called The Nest. The former is a little bit easier on the eye but there wasn’t a table comfortably big enough to hold of all of us so we headed to The Nest. Here, were also joined by my uncle John who was a most welcomed addition to the conversation.
Now, I’ve been to The Nest on really busy nights when every table was full and the place had a bit of atmosphere. On a cold Sunday evening however, it was absolutely dead. Pints came in at a very affordable €4.10 (cheapest of the night) and were perfectly fine. No complaints from everyone. As is usual custom in the last pub, we all had another round.
After five pubs, seven pints and Burdocks chips, we called to a close our 20th pub crawl. Some headed down to the get the Luas back into town, others were lucky enough to be able to walk home.
Overall, a great pub crawl. Thanks to everyone who joined us – regulars JFlood, Ham, DMc, Angela and newbies Gavin, Ciaran, Aoife, Grainne and ‘Big’ John.
We’re are looking forward to Ci’s on Feb 19 already.
For a really nice pint in Windy Arbour (or a game of darts), drop into The Corner House (€4.20).
If you wanna try somewhere different, we’d suggest the ‘bar’ and not the ‘lounge’ of Ryans Arbour House (€4.35)
For a real gem, check out Uncle Toms Cabin (€4.40)
For a cheap pint in Dundrum, The Eagle (€4.10) is your man but The Dundrum House (€4.25) is definitely more aesthetically pleasing.