Historic Pubs of Dublin: Doheny & Nesbitt, Toners Pub and O’Donoghue’s

Continuing my look back on my visit to Dublin in 2014, I’m recounting the historic pubs that author Frank McCourt visited in his 2008 PBS show. Here are three others that should be on your itinerary.

Doheny & Nesbitt turned out to be my favorite historic pub. One thing you might discover at the pubs in Dublin is that your bartenders might not be Irish. They could be young and Eastern European. The barkeep at D&N were what you think a Dublin bartender would be — thick accent, aged and whip smart.

Located at Lower Baggot Street, this is where local politicians choose to chat about the issues of the day. They might even negotiate public policy over a few pints. Obama would approve. Just don’t ask the staff what decisions by the politicians have been made. There’s a silent oath among them. They are more priests then beer slingers here.

Beyond the history, I just found the interiors to be the warmest and most inviting of all that I visited. Most of what you see is original and perfectly intact. If I was designed a fake Irish pub in America, this would be my template.

Up the street from Doheny & Nesbitt is Toners. Just look for the painting of James Joyce and Patrick Kavanagh out front.  Nobel Prize-winner W. B. Yeats came here to learn about Irish pub life. Oliver St. John Gogarty bought him a drink. They sat there in silence until Yates said, “Lead me from this.” It’s one of the few places Yeats would drink, and he would go to the same snug every time

Here, you can head down to the basement and feel like you can be in any village pub in Ireland. It’s another perfectly preserved pub. It’s as authentic as you can get.


The final place I stumbled too, mind you the Guinnesses and my detours to craft beer spots can slow me down, is where locals and tourists go for live Irish music. Although, any one of the pubs I mentioned will have live music, O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row is the preferred spot for those in the know.

This is where the Clancy Brothers and The Dubliners got there start. A who’s who of Irish singers and musicians have raised people’s spirits at O’Donoghue’s. You can definitely expect a sing-a-long and plenty of foot stomping.




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