Glorious Georgian Dublin is the heart of the Ireland’s entertainment, dining, and nightlife. Upscale restaurants, local and international cuisine, traditional Irish pubs, quirky bars, performances at the famous Abbey Theatre, folk and classical music, festivals and buzzing pubs – Dublin’s got it all, and the city’s great choice in venues makes going out a treat.
Bars and Pubbing in Ireland
A top reason for Ireland’s popularity with vacationers is its 600 pubs, many of which have been operating for over 100 years. Dublin is its lifeline, with the Temple Bar area offering the best selection. Most pubs set their own hours and close at 11:30 p.m., but for night owls there are many hostelries that stay open until at least 2:00 a.m. Dublin’s clubs alternate between wild and sophisticated, with the Button Factory (Temple Bar, Dublin) an all-time favorite.
The Brazen Head (Bridge Street, Dublin), is Ireland’s oldest pub, dating back at least 600 years, and O’Donahue’s (Queen Street, Dublin) is famous for its traditional folk music. The Barge (Charlemont Street, Dublin) is a traditional Irish pub serving great food, while the interior of Cavanagh’s (Glasnevin, Dublin) hasn’t been altered in over 100 years except for its restrooms and beer taps. McDaid’s (off Grafton Street, Dublin) was a favorite haunt for Oscar Wilde, while the modern see-and-be-seen spot is The Bailey (Duke Street, Dublin), sophisticated with regular celebrities in attendance. For brew-pub lovers, Against the Grain (Wexford Street, Dublin) has a huge variety of local micro-beers.
Cork’s pub-filled Barrack Street is known for the Barrack Street Challenge, which includes drinking a pint at each of its establishments without falling over. The city’s live music scene is famous, the traditional An Spailpin Fanach (South Main Street, Cork) offering folk music every night and The Bierhaus (Popes Quay, Cork) countering with over 50 beers on tap. An Realt Dearg (next to Elizabeth Fort, Cork) is the oldest pub here dating back to 1698, while the Long Island Bar (Washington Street, Cork) serves cocktails in the heart of the city.
Dining and Cuisine in Ireland
Almost every type of cuisine imaginable can be found in Ireland, from local dishes to fish and chips, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Mediterranean and other international gastronomies. Prices run from budget upwards and styles favor the romantic to the trendy. Brown’s Brasserie (St Stephen’s Green, Dublin), set in a boutique hotel that was formerly a Georgian town house, serves excellent classic recipes, while the menu at Bruno’s Bistro (Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin) is seafood-rich with a Mediterranean flavor.
Chapter One (Parnell Square, Dublin) is unusually set in the basement of the Writers’ Museum and stands as one of Ireland’s best restaurants for its roast venison and bread-and-butter puddings. For traditional Irish recipes, The Commons Restaurant (St Stephen’s Green, Dublin) is the place to go. Cork is a gourmet lover’s paradise with a focus on classic dishes. The famous Hayfield Manor Hotel’s fine dining or Orchids (College Road, Cork City) is the perfect venue for the ultimate experience eating out.
For seafood and steak aficionados, there’s nowhere better than the classic Cornstore Restaurant (Cornmarket Street, Cork) with its Manhattan-style ambience. Café Paradiso (Lancaster Quay, Cork) is the place to head for vegetarians in Ireland, but carnivores will also appreciate its celebrated cooking style. Gourmet steaks, chicken, salads and burgers are the highlights of the Liberty Grill (Washington Street, Cork City) and its casual modern appeal serves up a relaxing dining experience.