Chatting with the Locals: Pub Culture

Pub culture in Ireland might be something of a misnomer; it might rather be titled Pub Life. Pubs in Ireland are not only a place to grab a pint of your favorite local stout, but also a place to unwind, to meet up with kinfolk and townsfolk alike, and to engage in lively conversation after a few rounds. When walking into a pub in Ireland, you'll be sure to find a friend. If a group is gathered talking around the bar, feel free to listen, buy a round, and join in.

For those of you drinking and eating out, pub grub is a fine accompaniment to any pint. Consisting of soups, brown soda bread, Irish beef burgers, and chips (fries), it is the place to get fresh, good food fast. Other types of food include seafood chowder, lamb stew, and meat-filled shepherd's pie, all of which will keep you energized for any adventure. Remember to eat by eight o'clock in the evening if possible. Pubs stop serving dishes once the thirsty regulars sojourn.

Families with children are welcome for the early hours of the evening. Once 9 P.M. rolls around, families are often shooed out the door.

Essential

When someone invites you to a pub in Ireland, it is common practice for her or him to purchase the first drinks. But, you should bestow the next. Order the following round before others finish their drinks in order to keep the spirit, conversation, and your ability to be culturally one-step ahead from lulling. (It takes nearly two minutes for a Guinness to settle before the swilling can begin.)

Guinness is the most well known Irish beer, but the island has been brewing several other splendid concoctions for centuries. Try what is on tap at the various pubs you frequent for a true taste of the region.

Ireland's other beers (besides Guinness) include:

  • Smithwicks (Kilkenny)

  • Caffrey's Irish Ale (County Antrim)

  • Beamish Red Ale (Cork City)

  • Harp Lager (Dundalk)

  • Murphy's Irish Stout (County Cork)

  • Galway Hooker (Galway City)

  • Whether you stop by Abbey Tavern in Dublin, McGann's in County Clare, or Smuggler's Creek in Donegal, the pub is the place not only to meet locals, but to learn about each region's culture and heritage. Once the pub doors swing open, you'll forget about that tiring hill walk or the hours of driving tight roads and be truly absorbed in the friendliness exuding all around.

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