Ireland’s waterholes are famous around the world—but did you know that some of them are actual record holders too? Here are five pubs in Ireland that hold epic records.
No visit to Ireland is complete without at least one proper pub session—and we’d absolutely urge you to schedule in more. Pubs are the social institution in our country and there really isn’t any more Irish experience than sharing a pint (or two or three) with a bunch of locals in their natural setting.
While the choice of pubs on the Emerald Isle is basically endless, why not combine your visit with some quirky sightseeing? We have found five pubs in Ireland that hold records sure to impress or amuse you—from smallest in size to the longest counter bar.
5. Dawson Lounge in Dublin – the smallest pub in Ireland
Pubs in Ireland can get busy every day and hour of the week. But there’s probably no place on the Emerald Isle where it’s as tricky to find a decent spot as at The Dawson Lounge in Dublin. The explanation is pretty obvious—it is the smallest pub in Ireland!
Easy to be missed from the outside, this gem around the corner from Stephen’s Green and just a stone’s throw from famous Grafton Street features a living-room–style drinking area holding a maximum of 50 people at a time. A small door and a very narrow flight of stairs bring you down to the bar (pretty much in hand’s reach from every point in the room) and a handful of tables.
There’s quite a bit of history in here too: Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins used “The Dawson Lounge” for meetings during the War of Independence.
Address: 25 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
4. Johnnie Fox’s in Glencullen – allegedly the highest pub in Ireland
Take me higher! A few pubs claim to be the highest pub on the Emerald Isle, including Top of Coom in the Derrynasaggart mountains and the Ponderosa Bar & Restaurant in County Derry. Another is Johnnie Fox’s in Glencullen, on top of the Dublin Mountains. We are no experts on the matter, but as Johnnie Fox’s has been claiming the title for a while, we’ve decided to feature them here.
The traditional waterhole opened its doors in 1798 and hasn’t changed much since. Think rustic tables, antiques everywhere, and wooden baskets and old-fashioned pots dangling from the ceilings. The walls are covered with pictures of past and present regulars, giving the pub a museum-like touch.
“Johnnie Fox’s” welcomes visitors from all over the world, with many of them being day-trippers from Dublin. The gorgeous patio makes the pub a perfect pit stop before or after exploring the surroundings on a sunny day, best enjoyed with a pint of “the black stuff” or “Fox’s Famous Whiskey Cake”.
The pub has live music every night of the week. However, it’s most famous for their so-called “Hooley Show”, including a four-course dinner, two live music sessions, and an Irish dancing show.
Address: Glencullen, Co. Dublin, Ireland
3. Hole in the Wall in Dublin – Europe’s longest pub
Dublin’s Hole in the Wall claims to be the holder of not one, but two records, making it a must-visit while exploring the many pubs in Ireland. Dating back to 1651, the watering hole nestled against the wall of the Phoenix Park prides itself to be the longest pub in Europe as well as the pub with the longest continuous bar counter. So, no matter what day or time you show up, you are almost guaranteed a front-row seat.
Besides the noteworthy bar counter, the Hole in the Wall is also beloved for its hearty food, sports screenings, and occasional wine-and-dine evenings as well as its very own wine shop.
Wondering where the name comes from? It’s a nod to an unusual practice in former times where bar staff would serve pints through a hole in the wall—allowing British soldiers stationed in Phoenix Park to get their fair taste of “the black stuff” without having to leave their camp.
Address: 345-347 Blackhorse Ave, Phoenix Park, Dublin 7, Ireland
2. Temple Bar in Dublin – Ireland’s most Instagrammed pub
Even if you have never been to Dublin, chances are you are well familiar with the bright-red facade of The Temple Bar. The iconic establishment has been around since 1840 and, having been tagged in over half a million posts and counting, is officially Ireland’s most Instagrammed pub. No matter if you are in town just for a day or have lived here all your life, you will sooner or later end up at their counter.
While we do admit that “The Temple Bar”—unsurprisingly located in the heart of the Temple Bar district—is a bit of a tourist magnet, it’s still well worth dropping in for a pint or two at least once. Love whiskey? Even better, as they have one of the largest collections in the country—expect to find more than 450 bottles of Irish, Scotch, and bourbons!
“The Temple Bar” has been awarded “Traditional Music Pub of the Year” ever since 2002. They have live music and sing-alongs every day and more than 20 music sessions a week, making it one of the best pubs in Ireland for a night out.
Address: 47-48 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
1. Sean’s Bar in Athlone – the oldest pub in Ireland and all of Europe
No watering hole has seen more trad sessions, lively debates, tipsy confessions, and drinking contests than Sean’s Bar in Athlone, County Westmeath. Dating back to AD 900, it was listed as the oldest pub in Europe by Guinness World Records in 2004. That’s right: not just Ireland, but all of Europe!
“Sean’s Bar” right on the banks of the River Shannon was originally known as “Luain’s Inn”, and is nowadays a massive tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the globe to the heart of Ireland. Its rustic interiors reflect its past, and we especially love all the walls graced with photos of locals and celebrities that have stepped over the threshold in the past centuries.
Pretty much everyone known in Ireland has been here at some point, so don’t be surprised if you end up sharing your next pint with Bono. To get the best out of your Irish experience, we recommend their nightly music session, a hearty Irish stew and (of course) a Guinness pint.
Address: 13 Main Street, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Ireland