Famous Bars and Pubs in Ireland – The Best Traditional Irish Pubs

Temple Bar Dublin Image

Updated On: January 31, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Ireland is a place famous for its pubs, where you’ll find many Irish enjoying a drink and socialising with friends. Pubs in Ireland come in many different shapes and sizes; you’ll find cosy little pubs, traditional pubs, modern pubs and pubs to enjoy live Irish music in. Whatever you are looking for you’ll be sure to find it in Ireland.

It’s a must for any tourist visiting Ireland to take a trip to the inviting Irish pubs and fill yourself up on Irish pub traditions.

But there is so much more to Irish pubs than just a place for drinking. There is a unique pub culture in Ireland that goes far beyond drinking, pubs have played a role in Irish history, providing a place for people to socialise and escape from their daily life.

Keep reading to find out more on Irish pub culture and the famous pubs to visit in Ireland.

Pubs in Ireland
Pubs in Ireland

Pub Culture in Ireland

As mentioned pub culture is very important in Ireland, for many centuries it was an outlet for Irish people to meet others; providing a social and community centre for the Irish. Of course, drinking was part of the pub culture but it was more about friendship, coming together with neighbours and strangers alike to relax outside of the home environment.

Many celebrations and festivities take place in pubs in Ireland from weddings, christenings, funerals, birthdays; basically, anything that can be celebrated, you’ll be sure to see it happening in Irish pubs.    

Many Irish people will refer to pubs as ‘the local’, the one they are most common with and would visit frequently. In nearly every Irish town and village there will be a local pub, that many of the locals in the area like to visit.

Irish pubs are usually very informal with a friendly camaraderie between the bar staff and customers. In most Irish pubs the customers will all know each other and even if they don’t the pubs provide the perfect opportunity to get to know others.

You’ll find in pubs in Ireland that bar staff will take an interest in you; asking your name and where you come from. This is very typical of Irish people as they like to chat and get to known others, whether you’re a local or new to the area.

The best thing about pubs in Ireland is that there are over 1,000 located all around the place, so you never need to go far to enjoy a drink somewhere. Check out our list of famous Irish pubs below that we recommend visiting on a trip to Ireland.

Famous Pubs in Ireland

Seans Bars, Althone

First, we have not only the oldest pub in Ireland but also the oldest pub in all of Europe which has been confirmed and recorded by the Guinness Book of Records. This is Seans Bar located in Athlone in County Westmeath. Located perfectly in the heart of Ireland, the pub attracts many visitors from around the world. A place where the pints are always flowing and the craic is mighty.

Lonely Planet has even included Sean’s Bar in their “25 of the Most Incredible Bars in The World’ list. As the oldest pub in Ireland, you know that comes with a wealth of history, dating back to the 12th century that over 200 years of remarkable history to dive into.

Sean’s bar is must visit in Ireland, although there is nothing glamours about this Irish bars it’s simple and welcoming and that’s all you really need.

Crown Bar, Belfast

This famous Irish bar is located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, you’ll definitely not find another pub like this. Crown Bar is one that is filled with character as soon as you step inside, a beautiful traditional pub famous for its unique design and classic pub food.

It’s also renown for its great Irish hospitality that makes you feel at home even if you’re a tourist visiting the area.

It’s an ageless Irish pub with stunning Victorian architecture that will totally captivate you, as an A listed building its well looked after by the National Trust, who have restored it over the years. It’s one of the coolest bars not only in Ireland but the world and you must make sure you stop by and marvel at its beauty as well as enjoying a nice drink. The photo opportunities at this Irish pub is endless.

Temple Bar, Dublin

Located in the heart of  Dublin’s cultural hotspot, in the Temple bar district, you’ll find the world famous Temple Bar. It has become one of the most popular pubs in Ireland, a firm favourite with tourists.  

Temple Bar is cool and quirky, a place where you can enjoy live traditional Irish music, nearly all year round and with an electric atmosphere that’s truly like no other else. On days like St.Patricks Day, the place is filled with people singing, dancing and drinking and having lots of fun.

It’s a great traditional Irish pub where you’ll be given a genuinely warm welcome that comes with a friendly service.

O’Connells Bar, Galway

Another great pub in Ireland is the traditional styled ‘O’Connells’ bar famous for being the place where Ed Sheeran filmed his music video for ‘Galway Girl’ featuring Irish actress Saoirse Ronan.

But that isn’t the only thing to love about this Irish pub, the place has a very inviting energy with incredible decor including some of its original fixtures that date back to the 1970s. It was once a small grocery before being transformed into a bar.

Some of this pub’s stunning features include stained glass windows, tiled floors and antique lighting. The place also has a great history within its wall as well being home to a wide variety of craft beers, premium spirits and wine imported from all around the globe. Most famous for its amazing whiskeys and gins on offer.

Not forgetting being home to one of Ireland’s best beer gardens that includes two outside bars, plenty of seating areas which are heated,  so in winter you can still enjoy the place all year round.

McHughs Bar, Belast

This famous pub in Ireland is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Belfast but since the 18th century, it has been home to McHugh’s Bar. It’s your typical old Irish styled pub perched on a corner in Belfast city centre.

McHughs Bar is renown for being a popular spot for traditional music sessions and its exceptional whiskey on offer. The pub offers a homely feel with its big open fires and relaxing seating areas, making it a great place to have a drink in Belfast.

The bar also offers traditional pub food but with a modern flair to excite visitors. McHugh’s is a famous pub that offers great entertainment, history, culture and delicious food under one roof.

These are just some of the famous pubs in Ireland that you should make time to check out on your next Irish trip. Irish pubs are a great place to meet new people and find out all the best places to visit in the area from the locals themselves.

What’s the best pub in Ireland that you have visited? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

More blogs you might enjoy:

Live Music in Belfast: A Local’s Guide to Entertainment |Arthur Guinness: The Man Behind the World’s Most Famous Beer | Best Bars to Visit in Belfast, Northern Ireland| Lavery’s Belfast: The Oldest Family Run Bar in Northern Ireland|

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