Ireland's Oldest Pubs: From Belfast to Cork

It's not just England or Scotland who boasts the oldest inns in the village; Ireland also has some ancient drinking venues to its name. The Emerald Isle's oldest pub can be found in the city of Dublin. The Brazen Head was established in 1198 and has seen great literary and revolutionary names such as James Joyce, Jonathan Swift and Michael Collins grace its bar. Now popular as a music venue, don't be surprised if you're rubbing shoulders with the likes of Van Morrison and Garth Brooks, who have popped in for a drink in the past. This is where those in the know come to prop up the bar.

The oldest pub in Belfast is McHugh's, which opened its doors in 1711 and never looked back. Not only is it the oldest pub, but it's the oldest building still standing in the city today. Standing strong while the city changed and developed around it, one can only imagine what stories these walls could tell! Now featuring a sprawling, 300-seater restaurant, the pub has certainly moved with the times, yet it holds firm its historic background and aged character.

The oldest thatched pub in Ireland is the Old Thatch, in County Cork, dates back to 1667, and has been owned by the same family since 1700. This is a pub with a proud sense of history and tradition, and the only glitch on its smooth paper trail is when the owner of the pub was denied a license renewal in 1867, after he was accused of harboring Fenians – the name given to members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood – on the property. These days the place is happily licensed, and its thatched roof provides a real picture-postcard setting in this pretty corner of Ireland.

There is more to Great Britain's history than its pubs – there are countless museums and monuments through the isles which will give you a thorough briefing of the days gone by. And some of the best hotels have a history as well. Yet there's something special about an old pub; these are the places where people have come together throughout the centuries, to catch up on the latest news, enjoy a drink, and wind down at the end of the day. While the world constantly moves, and while the cities and towns grow and change, the ritual of a pint at the local pub doesn't seem to change at all. And it's this sense of tradition that you can enjoy in any of these old pubs, wherever you choose to go, and whatever your drink of choice.


Source by Tom J Hoare

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