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Sunday 4 June 2023 Dublin: 9°C
10 of the best pubs around Ireland for a cosy Christmas catch-up
Fireside, check. Friends, check. Good times, check.

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

CHRISTMAS IS A time for catching up. For spending quality time with people you don’t see enough… and ideally all in a nice warm snug with a pint in your hand.

But where? Well, here are some truly excellent ideas.

1. Tigh Neachtain’s, Galway

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Some people would claim that no trip to Galway is ever truly complete without a pint in Tigh Neachtain’s, which also boasts of over 130 whiskeys that are just waiting to be made into a hot toddy. It’s got such a cult status that they even sell their own hoodies online. You’ll find us by the fire…

2. The Oval Bar, Cork

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Nestled on Cork’s bustling Main Street, the pub was originally designed on behalf of the Beamish and Crawford Brewery. The Oval is the only pub in Cork to be included on a list of important 20th-century buildings within the city limits, and always smells of a reassuring mix of peat and whiskey.

3. The Blue Light, Sandyford

The Blue Light Pub The Blue Light Pub

Known during the summer for its breathtaking views of Dublin, the Blue Light boasts arguably one of the best locations for in the city. Come Christmas, visitors take refuge amongst the wooden snugs and roaring fires that make it the epitome of a traditional rural pub. Instruments are welcome so don’t be too surprised if you get caught up in a festive singalong.

4. Matt Molloys, Westport

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Owned by the Chieftains’ Matt Molloy, it’s no surprise that this pub is one of the few in Ireland that can boast of having brilliant live traditional Irish music seven nights a week. It attracts visitors from all over the world, so be sure to arrive early to claim a snug.

5. Sean’s Bar, Athlone

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As the oldest pub in Ireland (and debatably, Europe), Sean’s Bar has a massive reputation that it absolutely lives up to. Located next to the River Shannon and Athlone Castle, the place is steeped in history. The best part about it? Definitely warming up beside the pub’s open turf fireplace.

6. The Harbour Bar, Bray

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Once crowned Best Bar In The World by Lonely Planet, the Harbour Bar is a wonderful, winding pub through trad-filled snugs, cat-occupied couches and a wall in the attic conversion that is covered in paintings of the Pope. Most recently famed for its Stranger Things-inspired decor, we’re confident their Christmas decorations will be just as good.

7. M O’Shea’s, Borris

download James Fennell Photography James Fennell Photography

As one of the focal points of RTE’s charming documentary The Irish Pub, M O’Shea’s is one of the few pubs in Ireland where you can still buy wellies, oven gloves, light bulbs and WD-40. Imagine Mary’s Bar on Wicklow Street if it had a crackling fire and had been in the same family for generations.

8. The Bath Pub, Sandymount

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Although it’s a relatively newly-opened pub compared to most on this list, The Bath’s offers of free hot water bottles and delicious pub grub really make it one of the cosiest spots to go to if you find yourself in Dublin 4 this Christmas.

9. The Old Thatch, Killeagh

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As one of the oldest licensed premises in Ireland, The Old Thatch was once refused a license in 1867 for fear that the pub harboured Fenians. The Sweeney family have been in charge since 1700 and a pint there really does feel like stepping back in time.

10. Cassidy’s, Westmoreland Street

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Known to Dubliners as the cool older brother of P Mac’s on Stephen’s Street and Blackbird in Rathmines, Cassidy’s is known for its clientele-created graffiti, free packets of Meanies and tasty craft beers. Check out their newest arrival, mint chocolate stout, for a Christmas drink like no other.

Where’s your ultimate go-to pub for a cosy Christmas pint? Let us know in the comments below.

Whether you’re having a quiet catch-up or meeting the whole gang for Christmas drinks, use Visa contactless – the faster, easier way to pay for purchases up to €30. Spend less time at the bar and more time having plenty of Christmassy craic. Simply touch and pay with Visa contactless. Find out more here.

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