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Archive for the ‘Pub Crawls’ Category

Ah Guinness. Daniel O’Connell might not have been the firms biggest fan, with the famous Guinness boycott of the 1841 Repeal election always forgotten today in the romantic narrative of the company’s history, but we here at Come Here To Me are certainly fond of the great “Protestant porter”.

You’d want to be but. Being honest about it, it’s not like you’ve a whole lot of options beyond it. Indeed, to borrow and rework a great quote from history, the Irish punter can have a drink in any colour that they like as long as it’s black. If they don’t want it black, they can have a pint of Budweiser.

The lack of selection in Irish pubs is pretty miserable. Even Witherspoons, the McDonalds of the British pub world, offer a wide selection of beers both local and national throughout their outlets. Here at home though, it seems Diageo have everyone by the bollocks. With that in mind, I’ve been trying some new things lately.

I have to say, I feel like a vegetarian who just tasted his first donor kebab. It really is that good. Here are three favourites so far:

1: Plain, The Porterhouse.

Plain, Temple Bar.

Walking into The Porterhouse, I was taken aback by the image of Flann O’Brien by the door. The check of them, I thought. O’Brien was more often (or too often) to be found down the far end of Temple Bar of course, in The Palace. Still, when you taste their inhouse stout, you understand the choice of image in the doorway perfectly. A pint of plain truly is your only man.

Plain is an All-Ireland champion stout, and deservedly so. Indeed, she’s the Global Gold Medal winner of Best Stout in the World.The rich, roasted malts make this one, and she just goes to show the Corkonians that once again the best stout in the world claims Dublin as home.

2: Spitfire,Kentish Ale.

The Spitfire beer bottle looks like somebody gave a Glasgow Rangers Supporters Club a bootleg copy of Photoshop and asked them to design a bottle of beer. ‘THE BOTTLE OF BRITAIN’ it proclaims, and the whole thing is a red,white and blue designers nightmare. The bottlecap is a beaut, taking in the classic RAF logo which was later adopted by the mod youth subculture in Britain.

Have you seen the ads? No? Jesus……

The stuff is absolutely beautiful but. A 4.5% ale, it’s got a gorgeous hoppy, bitter taste to it. We found it in O’Neills on Sufolk Street retailing at a very fair €4 a bottle. They gave us a glass of ice with it, which I thought was very odd and didn’t work with the beer.

Spitfire is currently on sale in Aldi of all places at a knockdown price.

3: Galway Hooker

I’ve great time for any pub which is willing to move beyond the old predictables, and I was surprised to see the Galway Hooker van parked outside The Palace on Fleet Street. This has long been a favourite, and was probably my first trek of the beaten track with alcohol. Galway Hooker has been very successful in its home city, making the great leap into a student bar, which says a lot when student bars are more often associated with cans of Dutch Gold under a table than pint glasses on it. There’s a great bitterness to this one, and it is quite widely available by the standards of smaller microbrewery drinks in this country.

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(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.

Rosie O

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.

Peggy Kelly

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.

Sean MacD

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.

Sum up:

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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This is not a pint. Read on....

New here? Once a month we visit five Dublin pubs, give them a quick once over, and review them here. Simple.

This pub crawl was made all the better by the fact we’ve decided to attempt to couple all future crawls with a cultural event. We’d met up earlier than usual on the Sunday in question to take in a walking tour of Grangegorman Military Cemetery, and as such were feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves. Pints are great, granted- but they’re always nicer after a day out.

Anyway, this months pubs….

Right opposite the Ha’penny Bridge, I was always amazed by the fact a large premises at the entrance to Merchants Arch was allowed sit vacant for so long. Once an Abrakebabra, and a rowdy one at that, it must be one of those city centre business premises doomed to failure in any guise I thought. Now, with the arrival of the Merchants Arch Bar, maybe all has changed.

This pub is one of those pubs where you have to make your way past a young woman with a menu in hand to get in. In post Celtic Tiger Dublin, it’s a pretty standard fixture with any Temple Bar establishment. While I’ve heard the food here is excellent, I’ve a good feed in me already and besides my student pockets don’t allow it (PRIORITIES), and a round of pints are the height of it. The interior of the pub is beautiful, I’d compare it almost to the downstairs of the nearby Workman’s Club. Minimal and classic. There is no clutter here on the walls, like in the ‘done up’ (read: completely ruined) Eamonn Doran’s only a short distance away. There, it’s all Michael Collins, Shamrocks and the little people.

There is rugby on the telly. I know absolutely nothing about rugby. I know one thing though, this is loud. Just too loud to let conversation flow freely. Despite the bar being quite busy for the time of day, nobody is really watching the game. The pints arrive quickly and are worthy of a thumbs up. All in all, this new venture gets our support and I think I’ll be back. It’s hardly the only pub in Dublin where the telly gets more priority than it maybe should.

I’m delighted to see something good done with this premises, it was a shame to see a building right next to the Ha’penny Bridge rotting away.

We’re off to The Lotts next. This is the pub which famously got behind the Mexicans at the last World Cup, talk about a lucky selection.

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Unless you’re a newcomer to CHTM, you’ll know that on one Sunday a month the three of us, in the company of a small group of friends head out on a pub crawl, with pubs carefully selected by one member of our troop but not revealed until we’re standing outside the door. Five pubs with a bit of history thrown in, what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Unbeknownst to ourselves, we hit a landmark on January’s crawl and didn’t celebrate it in style. We’ve been wondering how long it would take us to reach the hundred pubs mark on CHTM! and we did it here, and in less than a year- with three of our number drinking bottles of Lech and another a Lithuanian beer called Svyturys in O’Byrnes Bar, on the corner of Capel St. and Bolton St. Don’t get me wrong, we found it to be a lovely place; any pub with an open fire gets our vote of confidence pretty much straight away. It was just the fact that we thought our hundredth pub would be a great pint of Guinness in an institution like Mulligans or the Lord Edward; our fault really, covering them in the first couple of pub crawls.

O'Byrnes Bar, taken from the Tale of Ale blog

O’Byrnes though- a lovely pub with sound staff and a great taste in decor- the walls are bedecked with some classic 7″ records alongside old Hot Press covers and obligatory pictures of the Dubliners, Thin Lizzy and the likes.  We neglected to take the comfy looking couches inside the door in favour of the seats down the back beside the (unfortunately dying) fire. This place has been known as a “corner of death,” in that any business opened here in recent years rarely lasts too long, but the current owners have done a fine job in bringing something to the place, offering a range of Irish craft beers and ales which come highly recommended from the excellent Tale of Ale blog. Great tunes filtered in over the stereo too, a mix of classic and Irish rock. As nice as it was, its a pub I’d like to return to on a busy night to really see what its like. As with all of the pubs on this crawl, there was no smoking area. Lucky we only had the one smoker with us so!

Bodkins, by the ever brilliant Infomatique, from Flickr

And so, we ventured across the road to Bodkins. Probably our first “student bar” to visit on a pub crawl, this was more a space filler between bars one and three than one I’d normally pick. Lets call it a “cultural experiment.” We were joined here by a pub crawl newbie and happily started into the Guinness. €4 a pint, not bad for the city centre, but certainly not the best pint of Guinness we have tasted on our rounds; a bit of an aftertaste and it lost it’s head very quickly. They do a €5 bar menu and thats probably the cause of that. They also have free wifi and do a “laptop loan” (“unless you’re an asshole” as per their site, which is fair enough.) There’s not many places left in the city centre with pool tables, but this being the closest DIT Bolton Street has to a student bar, you can see why they’re there, alongside a signed Man. Utd. jersey in memory of a young lad that passed away, a jukebox and plenty of televisions showing the footie.  It has drink deals (three bottles of Sol for a tenner and that kind of thing, ) but in complete opposite from our next stop, its certainly no local.

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Unless you’re a newcomer to CHTM, you’ll know that on one Sunday a month the three of us, in the company of a small group of friends head out on a pub crawl, with pubs selected by one member of our troop but not revealed until we’re standing outside the door.

So, Halloween evening, and it was pubcrawl time again. This week, the pubs were selected by JFlood, the only person outside of the CHTM trio to have ventured to pick a route so far. The starting point was Charlemont Luas stop, not far from Ranelagh, so we had a fair idea what side of the city we were headed for. Four thirty was the alotted meet up, and we didn’t have far to go to the first stop, The Barge on Charlemont Street.

I’ve been told that on a warm Summers day, there’s nowhere like the place, getting your pint from the bar and then heading out to sit by the canal and enjoy it. No such luck today, four thirty, Halloween afternoon, dark and dreary Dublin. Not inside The Barge though, a large airy bar split into three levels, the ground floor, a mezzanine area and the second story.  A beautiful place to look at inside, and spotless throughout; I was quite taken with the place on first impressions. What I wasn’t mad about was that most of the trade was taken up by a Sunday lunch crowd. Now this isn’t an offence in itself, but I’m not crazy on the idea of having a few scoops somewhere in the knowledge that there’s a family tucking into dinner beside me. The food looked and smelled great, but it was the Guinness we were here for. We took up position in an excellent little snug hidden upstairs with a couch and two arm-chairs squeezed into it and hit the bar to be welcomed by the news that the barman would drop down our pints; a nice touch.  The pint, at €4.40 went down well- they obviously take pride in their presentation, as unlike a lot of places that do food, the glasses were spotless and the pint looked perfect. I quite liked this place, it was nice to be tucked away from the hustle and bustle, with the barman down to us after a few minutes asking if we wanted another. But, we were only staying for one so had to make our apologies.

The Barge Bar by Bill in DC, from Flickr

As expected, JFlood led us yet again away from our comfort zone of the city centre. His previous pubcrawls had taken us around The Liberties (my favourite pubcrawl yet by far) and Rathmines so it didn’t suprise me when we headed up Ranelagh Road.

The next pub was one I don’t think half of our group had ever set eyes on before, never mind set foot in. Hidden away on Mount Pleasant, behind the new school on Ranelagh Road and with rows of neighbouring on either side, The Hill is reminiscent, situation wise at least, of Gravediggers in Glasnevin- hidden away in  residential area. But as often the case, a hidden pub can be a hidden gem and such is the case for The Hill. A smashing looking bar inside and out, this place looks like its been here since time began; they’ve maintained the Victorian stylings down through the years, and is the kind of pub that feels like its been passed down through generations. A quick look in the Irish Times archive shows it was last on auction in 1999 so that dispels that notion.

We got a few inquisitive looks as we entered, a definite sign of a locals bar, but thats to be expected as the bar lies off the beaten track. The barman again offered to bring the pints down and we sat ourselves in a raised seating area up the back, under the telly. And whilst Liverpool were on, and there were a few regulars watching, the volume wasn’t pumped up as it would normally be and we had no problem talking over it. Not too far away from Rover’s heartland of Miltown here so myself and DFallon exchanged a few nods at the expense of the regulars nattering about their lifting of the LOI trophy on Friday night. It did suprise me when one of them let a roar out of him when Liverpool scored with a few minutes to go- in Rovers absence from Miltown, he had obviously adopted an English club… Again though, a beautiful pub.

The Hill, Ranelagh. Pic by Hellplex, from Flickr

Obviously extended into one of the houses next door, the pub seems a lot larger inside than it does out. The pints arrived, and at €4.15 certainly weren’t to be sniffed at; the pint of the night for me. Conversation flowed in this place, and where we normally end up ranting about Michael Collins towards the end of our monthly pubcrawl, he was a target of out venom in our second pub here, (well, more the Neil Jordan film about him. A car bomb? In Dublin Castle? Now there’s historical revisionism.) Nice warm bar, interesting surroundings, great pint and a spotless jacks led this to be pub (as well as pint) of the night for me.

So back into the cold and dark and onwards to our next stop, Russell’s in Ranelagh village. Another eatery this, but as the evening was getting their wasn’t too many around. An odd place this, for while in was clean and tastefully decorated, it just lacked a certain something- there wasn’t much on the walls to distinguish what kind of a crowd it draws; normally you have a few pictures, snaps of locals or whatever. Russell’s? Nothing that we could see. According to one of the lads, its a big rugby pub, but you wouldn’t know it apart from the ads on the front doors. The pint came in at €4.40 and wasn’t too bad, less care for the presentation here though as two of the four pints were over-filled, while not a mortal sin, its something I know the Guinness quality control team frown upon.

Russells of Ranelagh from YPYounge.ie

Where the first two pubs oozed character, both I would say due mainly to their locations (The Barge right next to a lock and The Hill looking like it was just dropped into a row of houses by accident, I just couldn’t take to this place- it felt more restaurant or bisto than bar, and I don’t think any of us felt too comfortable here. Upstairs looked great, and the smoking area is out on a balcony which is a nice touch but we didn’t fancy the cold so we stayed inside, again up under a telly at the back of the bar.

So onwards to Smyths, just down the road, but not before a quick stop in the Ranelagh chipper and bags of chips all round here. Suprising to see the McDonalds on the corner closed; you’d think they at least would weather the recession- apparently not. Anyway, into Smyths, quite a nice spot,  most of the tables inside occupied, and the ones that weren’t had glasses on them, suggesting a busy evening. With the football just over, I’d presume it was that. Up at the bar I ran into an ex- workmate of mine, a retired civil servant and she swears by this place; I trust her judgement.

Smyths of Ranelagh

As I said, there was a decent crowd in here, so we made our way out to the smoking area. Wood panelled, well heated with a flatscreen showing La Liga, we were all happy here. There are Trinity residences around the corner and what we presume were some of the residents, most of whom embraced the halloween spirit and were wearing fancy dress, took up most of the area, but we found a nice little corner right under a heater. The pint, at €4.45 was the business, well presented, a decent head and tasted great; or my belly may just have been happy from the bag of chips ten minutes earlier. One of the lads definitely got costume of the night approval from CHTM anyways as Super Mario walked past, moustache specially grown for the occasion. Legend. We stayed for a couple here, comfortable as we were, and Smyth’s is definitely a spot I’d have no qualms about coming back to.

I’ll be honest and say this is where it starts to get hazy. JFlood had the next spot picked, McSorley’s, only a few doors down. Chris, my old workmate had told me to head up there either way, recommending it as a great spot. And it was a great spot, though not necessarily my kind of spot. The barman was dead-on, dressed in the garb of the local secondary school, we knocked a bit of craic out of the American football on the telly that nobody seemed to be watching except him.

McSorleys, Ranelagh. from their Facebook

As I said, a nice place, candle lit tables lined the walls, and several of them were occupied. Where Smyth’s seemed to be a youger crowd, McSorley’s came across as more of a thirty- something spot.  They do food, and I’d say the place gets busy on a Friday and Saturday night (its a late bar and so stays open until two o’clock at weekends) but tonight was just a steady stream of custom so we nabbed ourselves a high table close to the bar. Pints were €4.45 and there were no complaints.

We did visit one more pub, Birchall’s but I’d be doing it an injustice to try and review it as I simply can’t remember a thing about the place other than that the pints were somewhere around the €4.40 mark and were fine. And I’m sorry, thats all I remember, not from the drink, honestly. Myself and DFallon were sober enough to make our way back to the Luas stop, somehow befriend the drunkest woman in the world (by befriend, I mean she came up and started talking to us before lying down on the platform.) So there you are, six pubs, five that I remember. Standout of the night though had to be The Hill. But for it’s Rovers associations, it’d be perfect.

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As you should know by now, every month this blog organises a pub-crawl. In rotation, a different person chooses the five pubs in advance, picks a meeting point in the city and makes sure not to let any details slip to the rest of the group about what pubs are to be visited.

Sunday, 19th September. 4pm, Love Lane.

Myself, HXCI and veteran JFlood meet up to start our 13th pub crawl.

This time around I chose the area of Beggars Bush and Lower Baggot Street. Firstly, because I worked in the neighborhood over the summer and though I got to know the place well, never set foot in any of its watering holes and secondly, seeing as it was the day of the All Ireland final, I guessed it was far enough away from Croke Park to ensure a pub crawl free of hordes of GAA fans.

Setting off at a few minutes past four, we crossed the historic Mount Street bridge, past No. 25 Northumberland Road, and into the area knows as Beggars Bush. (Yes, it did get its name for being the “traditional assembly-point for country vagrants”)

Our first stop of the afternoon was Jack Ryans of Beggars Bush. The first thing that struck was me was the amount of photographs along the wall opposite the bar. Thankfully they weren’t all the all too frequent mix match of Italia ’90 posters, cliche paddy wackery saying and reproduction sign posts. The photographs, all of the immediate area, showed the changes that had occurred over the last 300 years. That’s what you want to see in a pub. Something original. Something that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. I had read online that there was a picture of American poet John Berryman on the walls as well, who lived in the area and frequented Ryan’s Lounge in the 1960s, but I couldn’t see it myself.

We took our perfectly poured pints from the friendly barman (who said thanks at least three times) and settled down in the lounge. Here, we were joined by DFallon who admitted to taking the scenic route from the Quays to Beggars Bush (via Leeson Street!). At €3.80 a pint, these were the cheapest and quite possibly the best pints we had this pub crawl.

Jack Ryans, Beggars Bush. 2010

Jack Ryans, Beggars Bush. 1962.

After a lengthy discussion on the recently screened James Connolly documentary, we left Jack Ryans and headed down Haddington Road, past the Church bell tower that British snipers used during the Rising, and into Smyths, the less upmarket neighbour of The 51. Smyth’s is a perfectly nice, small pub that proved to be a life-saver as it began to lash rain shortly after we arrived. (It became famous in 1999 for being the first pub in Irish history to be sold online) We were the only ones in the ‘Bar’ side of the pub and enjoyed our window seats. The pints were fine and came to €4.50 each. A price that you’d expect to pay for a pint of Guinness in Dublin city but it was noted that Jack Ryans (The Beggars Bush) which was less than 5 minutes walk away charged 70c less. JFlood, the only smoker of the group, remarked on the large, plastic covered ‘smoking area’ at the back entrance of the bar.

Back entrance to Smyths. Undated.

Onwards and upwards. We slipped down Eastmoreland Lane and took a right, bringing us onto Upper Baggot Street. (I hate backtracking on pub crawls). The Waterloo and Searsons are next door to each other and during my ‘pub crawl homework’, it was a difficult choice on which one to pick. I had never set foot in either. In the end, I chose The Waterloo manly for the fact that Searsons had been recently bought over by the Superpub empire Thomas Reads. I had hoped The Waterloo retained some charm, it was like many other pubs in Dublin in the 1960s, a haunt of Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan.

Today, the Waterloo is a large, ‘trendy’ bar. ‘Souless’ might be a little bit strong, but it’s not far off. The most memorable physical aspect of the place is the towering church-like roof. There was a Christening party well under way upstairs but we managed to get decent enough seats in the empty smoking room. A couple of kids started the classic game of seeing ‘who can run around our table as fast as possible without hurting themselves’. One little boy banged his hand against a table and started crying, he lost. Finishing our average pints (€4.50) and grabbing a handful of free leaflets and magazine on the way out, we made our way back Southside.

Stomach’s were growling at this stage, so we made a pit stop at Beshoff’s on Mespil Road. Here, we were joined by our Corkonian CHTM! pub crawl virgin Mary who was in jolly moods after the Rebel County’s win.

The Waterloo.

Our fourth stop of the evening was Larry Murphy’s on Lower Baggot Street. I expecting more from the place. It was empty, dark and a little bit depressing. No one was particularly happy with their pints (€4.50). The decor wasn’t interesting, the barman wasn’t very friendly and the loud jukebox music didn’t really help sell the place. We were great happy to move off. (That saying the pub does enjoy favourable reviews on Yelp, they all mention “after -work” weekday drinks though)

Larry Murphy's Pub. (Photo - Chris Brearley)

Last but not least was Hartigan’s. I had originally had picked it out for my first pub crawl but like a lot of pubs that day, it was closed. The wooden paneling and general decor was quite nice on the eye. Despite having such strong links with generations of UCD students, I was a bit disappointed about the lack of Earlsfort Terrace memorabilia on the walls. (Former residents of nearby Hatch Hall (UCD student residency) still meet socially in Hartigans pub on the first Wednesday of every calendar month; a social gathering known as “Hatch Wednesday”)

Though Mary was disappointed with the response of the bartender after she asked for her pint of Carlsberg to be changed, nearly everyone agreed that these were the best pints of Guinness (€4.35) of the pub crawl. Close call between Hartigan’s and The Beggars Bush definitely.

Hartigan's

If you ever find yourself in the Beggars Bush area, do drop into Jack Ryans. If you ever get stuck in bad weather on Haddington Road, check out Smyth’s rather than The 51. I wouldn’t go out of my way but if your ever on Lower Baggot Street, The Waterloo is probably your best bet. Avoid Larry Murphy’s unless there’s a big after-work session going on and if you like your Guinness, you could do a lot worse than Hartigan’s.

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Stubborn. I’m very stubborn.

Friends had just left Ireland for excursions abroad, and others have just moved homes. All events worthy of celebration. I hadn’t seen eight full hours of sleep in a few days, and everyone else invited to the crawl was much the same. Still, this is like Christmas mass at this stage. The pub crawl is a sacred thing, and many sore heads were evident at Connolly Station before departure.

Cleary's, credit to thatman1 on Flickr.

I’ve frequently gone past Cleary’s, or the ‘pub under the bridge’ with my father in the car. We’ve both meant to venture in, but never have, perhaps owing to the fact I’d drink a bit nearer to the bus stop (You know what I mean). Like many of the great Dublin boozers, Cleary’s has been in the hands of the one family for generations. On first entering, I’m struck by the interior, a beautiful bar which feels a bit like Ryan’s on Parkgate Street and a handful of others which don’t seem to have aged at the same pace as other pubs in the city. The bar is busy, and seems to have plenty of locals, impressive on a ‘GAA day’ in itself. Thinking we’re screwed for seats, the very likeable barman tells us to pop down the back. A huge lounge is there, most welcoming and plenty of room for an ever-growing group. Soldiers are coming back from the wars of the weekend, slowly dripping in to the group. Sam notes a snap of the Irish Citizen Army on the wall of the bar, always a thumbs up. The pints are perfectly fine, in fact a step above the norm. All in all, I’m off to a flyer.

Or so it seemed.

Harbor Master, credit to flickr user jellyshots

The Harbour Master really takes you back when you step inside. A beautiful restaurant/bar, the decoration is top class. It is telling that one of our company, who works in design, is impressed by the attention to detail in the presentation of the premises. Everything here looks wonderful, food included. Everything, down to the Guinness.

One of the lads complains of a one-pour pint. I’m ever the optimist however, and proceed to tuck into my own. It dawns on me, and everyone else at the table, that these are rubbish. If you read my pub crawls, or Random Drop Inn’s, you’ll know I’m not in the business of slating pubs. I’ll leave this one by saying on leaving the premises, two or three half full pints littered a table of seven. A disappointing one.

Never mind that, we’re on a boat now.

Quay 16, credit to Flickr user infomatique

This is great. Perhaps our most unusual one to date, the MV Cill Airne ship rests on the River Liffey and provides excellent views of NAMA buildings, The Point and the docklands in general. The dreaded price list turned out to be not so scary at all, in fact I was taken aback that a Guinness on board was in the same price range as one in any city centre pub today. We rest on the deck enjoying the views of the city, and lose track of time completely here. In all truth, I could have abandoned the tour (abandon ship seemed weak) here and been content for the night. Alas, crawls don’t work that way.

I don’t doubt they would frown on large groups of lads treating this one as a ‘pub’ as such (It is definitely a restaurant first) but a visit to the MV Cill Airne should be on your agenda. Without sounding my young age, it is…pretty cool?

I move the pub crawl on, in the direction of Pearse Street. The pub I wanted to visit next seems closed, not closed as in “we’re not open yet”, but closed as in “we’re not going to be open again”. panicking, I push on for Cassidy’s on Westmoreland Street.

Cassidy’s seems closed. Not closed as in “we’re not open yet”, but closed as in “we’re not going to be open again”. I think on my feet, and opt for Fitzgeralds on Aston Quay. I’ve never even gone in here to use the toilet, and this is a real gamble. All I know of this pub is that a ‘ghost sign’ now stands out front, from the time this was the Daniel O’ Connell.

Straight away, I cop the sight of t-shirts behind the bar. Normally, this is a bad sign. There are a few exceptions (Kavanagh’s, Mulligan’s) but generally a pub shifting t-shirts is a bit shamrocky for my liking. I’m pleasantly surprised by Fitzgerald’s but, and as The Shins come on the radio I realise I’m doing ok today. Against the odds, this pub crawl is working out.

The smoking area is excellent, I first mistook it for some sort of quiet room, decorated with a few old Guinness murals and with plenty of room for a reasonable crowd, it’s only a tiny drop of rain that makes me look up and realise where we are standing. One of the lads opts for a bowl of soup, always a safe bet, and returns content fifteen minutes later, insisting it was great. With its location, it’s hard to imagine a pub like this having any ‘locals’ as such, but it is a most decent effort. In short, it’s fine. I’m glad it was there today, and I’d probably drop in again.

By now, it is obviously Sunday night. I want to go to a pub that is, at most, six minutes walk away, but people are having none of it. Everyone is hungry, apparently. A flexible fellow, I decide perhaps Madigans on O’ Connell Street will do. There are, as some of you will know, three Madigans within a stones-throw of one another around O’ Connell Street. It remains an ambition of mine to one day do a pub crawl of Dublin that will consist only of visiting pubs called Madigans. I think it will be a nightmare for people to read. This one, is the one with a sizeable snap of Jack Daniels in the window. Up by The Gresham.

Maidgans, credit to flickr user susan crawford. I love this snap actually.

Once again, I’ve never been in here. One of my locals, The Hop House, is too close to justify it. I like this one but. The Guinness is great, the bar man a really nice character, and the pub homely, far larger that it appears from outside. It’s one of those pubs you’re at a loss to describe in too much depth, but also would be hard pushed to fault. It’s by no means as exciting as the MV Cill Airne, but it is a nice conclusion to an enjoyable pub crawl.

With that, we were done. Another five down. Another Sunday evening complete, and everyone returned home. Quite the weekend.

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