Cruises to Dublin are a popular feature on British Isles itineraries from the likes of P&O Cruises and Fred Olsen, plus the European itineraries of cruise lines including Princess Cruises, Cunard and NCL. While the city is packed with star attractions, it is in its world-famous pubs that the best craic is to be had. With live music and Guinness served just as it should be in its rightful home, you won’t need the luck of the Irish to have a great night in these five best bars in Dublin.
The Brazen Head
You can’t visit Ireland without visiting its oldest pub, The Brazen Head. Built in 1198, this legendary haunt has seen musicians from across the world perform within its aged walls, including the Dubliners, Van Morrison and Tom Jones. There’s live music here every night, but it is The Brazen Head’s Sunday afternoon sessions that are most notorious, with customers taking the stage while a live band performs the backing tracks.
The pub grub hits the nail on the head if you’re looking for authentic Irish fayre – beef and Guinness stew with soda bread anyone? That said, it’s easy to get distracted from your food by the thousands of signed bank notes and mementos pinned to the walls by the countless travellers who have passed through over the years.
The red and white canopies of Long Hall give off something of a butcher’s shop vibe on first appearance, but the sleek mahogany, stained glass and antique fixtures inside mean that there is no mistaking that you’re in a traditional Victorian boozer.
The listed Victorian building has stood almost unchanged for 130 years and its regulars have their fair share of stories to tell. One of our favourites is the fact that the main bar was men-only until 1951, with women served their drinks in the hallway up until then. Legend has it that Long Hall has its fair share of spooks roaming the premises but we’re fine with that, as long as they don’t tamper with the Guinness.
Photo credit: Cian Ginty
The Palace Bar
This Irish institution still looks pretty much the same as it did when first established in 1823, right down to the tiny hidden snug that has played host to many a Guinness-fuelled meeting. Some of Ireland’s literary greats have sat in The Palace Bar, waiting for inspiration to hit, with the mirrored high-back bar providing quite the backdrop for their brainstorming.
The Guinness here is as good as any you’ll get in Dublin, however it is the whisky drinkers who are in for a real treat: The Palace Bar is home to over 110 Irish whiskies, including their own 9 year single cask malt.
Photo credit: Juan Salmoral
The Temple Bar
Yes it is obvious and cliché, but if you’re looking for the Dublin nightlife you see in films, you’re certain to find it at The Temple Bar. Located on the legendary street of the same name, the pub is instantly recognisable by its red exterior and the hordes of revellers congregating outside. Seats fill up fast, though the heated bear garden is a peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of the bar. Food wise, Ireland might not be famous for its oysters but The Temple Bar is; shun champagne and wash your down with a Guinness. This is another treat for the whisky lovers too, housing Ireland’s largest collection of over 450 Irish, Scotch and Bourbon blends.
There’s live music every day and it is all but impossible not to tap your toes to the sounds of fiddles, banjos and accordions. Prepare to hear so many renditions of ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain’, that it’s all you’ll be singing once you get back on the ship.
We’re not sure whether the Irish just really don’t like change, but Mulligans is another boozer that has seemingly frozen in time. Established in 1782, though used as an ‘unlicensed drinking venue’ long before then, the pub has hosted everyone from thirsty sailors to journalists and Hollywood royalty; Judy Garland, James Joyce and John F. Kennedy are all known to have graced the bar with their presence.
From the grandfather clock to the deep cornice and the toasty fireplace; Mulligans is the quintessential Irish bar that has stood the test of time. We have it on good authority that this is the home of Dublin’s best pint too.
Photo credit: woolfit
Have you considered a British Isles cruise to Dublin? Check out these itineraries from P&O Cruises and Fred Olsen for more information.