There is something about the atmosphere in a good Irish pub. Maybe it is the pub itself, maybe it is something in the air, and maybe it is the Irish people that fill them with their lilt and laughter. The fact of the matter is there is something about a good Irish pub that transcends words, you just have to experience it. The Irish have used pubs as venues for gathering and socializing for centuries. While in some parts of the world frequenting taverns may be frowned upon, the pubs in Ireland have become part of the fabric of Irish life. Some people may stop in the pub to catch up on some reading and slowly savor a pint, while another may desire a wonderful bit of pub grub, some conversation and a spot of tea. In other words, pubs in Ireland are much more than just a place to have a drink. Pubs have become a manifestation of the Irish Psyche and ingrained in Irish life. The Irish are gregarious, friendly people who crave comradeship. In Ireland a pub is not a tavern, it's a social center.
The Irish have a work to live attitude and a lust for life. In Ireland people are much more concerned with the quality of their life than their standard of living. How refreshing! This must work towards their betterment. While the rest of the world reaches for Prozac the Irish hit the Pub. The fact that the Irish have very low incidence of mental depression speaks volumes for their easy going way of life. Another interesting tid-bit is that although the Irish have a reputation as being large consumers of alcohol, they are outdone on a per capita basis by a few of their European counterparts (although we won't name names).
The pubs in small towns and the rural countryside are a means to visit with your neighbor, keep up on the local gossip, or watch a sporting event. There is nothing quite like a brightly painted traditional pub with its stone floor, rustic appointments and the sweet aroma of turf burning in the fireplace.
In the larger cities a favorite pub often becomes a haven for the Irish. A familiar, friendly, and comfortable place a home away from home, a community within a community, a place to have some good craic (fun), have a bite to eat or take in a little live entertainment (paid or unpaid, professional or not).
Your Irish pub experience will be all the better if you can engage in some lively banter and experience some Irish wit firsthand. If you become engaged with other pub goers it is customary to buy rounds. If you buy a round make sure that you include everyone in the group. The Irish like to trade insults among one another and make fun of themselves. To get on well you have to be able to take a joke and laugh at yourself.
One bad thing about some Irish pubs is the level of smoking. Unfortunately, the Irish are still big smokers.
Pubs are usually open about 11:00 AM and give last call about 11:00 - 11:30 PM Monday through Saturday. These closing hours are a hang over from WWI. Before WWI pubs used to keep almost any hours they wanted. During WWI the British were in control of Ireland and there were some very important munitions plants located in the country. The Brits really needed the ammo and the last thing they wanted was a bunch of gumming, pie-eyed Irish making their munitions. On Sunday the pubs open around noon and may close around two o'clock PM and reopen about four PM. On Sunday, pubs had to close from 2:30 - 3:30 PM for holy hour. Although they are now permitted to stay open all day some pubs may still follow the tradition of closing midday.
Remember many pubs in Ireland also offer good traditional music and food. Visitireland.com has a pub directory to help you select pubs that you would like to visit during your travels. If you have a pub that you would like to include in our directory please contact us.