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“A good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub,” writer James Joyce reputedly suggested. In reality, it would be an equally impossible job to find a town in Ireland or England without the presence of a pub.

Recently, my wife, Jackie, and I began locating unique pubs in these countries. Our initial goal set ourselves was to find the oldest pubs. We discovered that many establishments boasted of being among the most senior. In all likelihood, nearly all pubs were old according to North American standards.

“Recent” pubs date back to the 1800s. Older pubs had histories that went that go back to the 1700s. The “ancient” ones had fireplaces, courtyards, or walls dating back to the early 1500s.

We then modified our initial criteria and searched for pubs with exciting stories or stories. Our search started in Galway in the west of Ireland. In Galway, we discovered what could best be described as pub-lined streets.


The Quays (11 Quay Street, Galway, Ireland) is the most well-known. The Quays bar has “only” about 200 years old, but it has furnishings and artifacts which are much more aged. Six bars are available, each one with its decor and furnishings. We sat on old theater seats in space, listening to music and watching the young, lively crowd drink their ale.

The tale that brought us to this beautiful place was that of the initial proprietors, two sisters, Mary and Delia Lydon. Delia was considered a considerable woman whose bloomers, when laid out to dry, would have been considered sailors by fishermen in Galway Bay.

Then we went to the famous Bunratty Castle, a Norman castle in County Clare in Ireland. County Clare. It has four towers and dungeons, as well as spiral staircases.

Durty Nelly’s is among Ireland’s iconic Irish Pubs. 


Nearby to the medieval castle located in Bunratty Village, we discovered the well-known “Durty Nelly’s.” (It is situated along the Galway-Limerick main route within Bunratty Village. Ireland.)

Bunratty Castle sits on the river’s mouth. Shannon River. A bridge that is now modern crosses the river; however, many centuries ago, a wooden bridge existed. Nelly was the tollkeeper. The night she was robbed. That night in a sleepless state, she imagined how to make poitin (pronounced put-CHEEN) position, which was an Irish variant of lightening with white (illegally distilling whiskey). The drink became a hit for travelers, and Nelly created the first pub.

The 17th-century cottage is home to several rooms and is open to visitors. Durty Nelly’s is thought of as the oldest bar in Ireland. This is a claim that we were unable to verify. We learned that castles had pubs that provided rest and leisure for soldiers.

There were pubs on almost all river crossings. The pubs of the past and today offer a wide range of services. They were a place to sleep, conduct business food, eat, store items, gather, chat, and have fun.


Pubs in Ireland and England are a place of comfort. Low-beamed, smoke-darkened, and smelling of decades of wood fires or peat with walls covered in old graffiti, visitors quickly find themselves at home. Local culture is reconstructed by “Durty Nelly’s” walls.

Images of heroes, including firefighters of Irish origin who died in the terrorist attacks 9/11 in New York City, are enshrined to preserve their memory. Each pub is unique in its location, design, and personality.

Names such as “Pickled Pilot,” “Rat and Parrot,” “The Brain’s Surgery,” “Frog and Nightgown,” and “The Tippling Philosopher” are persistent. Pubs can be found inside old mills, manors from the past stables, barns, old jails, and even suicide sites. Anywhere life took place, there was a pub to celebrate it.

Brazen Head in Ireland.


When we arrived in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, we discovered it needed to be more agreement about the oldest city pub on the island. “The Brazen Head” (20 Lower Bridge Street, Dublin, Ireland) is acknowledged as being at the place it is today since 1688. The site’s records indicate that it is dated to the 11th century.

It is close to the landings at the time of the Norman invasion commanded by William the Conqueror in the 12th century and close to Dublin Castle, so the claim was believable to us.

The pub has served as a relic of the past, and the leaders of the Irish rebellion 1798 gathered there. It was even Winston Churchill who was a patron at one time.

We sat virtually in a darkened room and could imagine the secret conversations. The pub today is an attraction for tourists. However, locals continue to gather there to play darts, pool, chat, and enjoy an ale or a glass of cider after work.

The walls are covered in historic posters and soot-stained photos. Beer kegs line the courtyard in front, and tables are occupied in the summer. A must-visit if only to know that you have been to Dublin’s oldest bar.


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