It's hard to beat the charm of a traditional Irish pub. Visitors to Ireland make it a point to visit the local watering holes and almost every village or city will have two to three popular ancient pubs that offer traditional local ales and pub foods. In fact, the interior of an Irish pub is hard to miss with the extra wide oilcloth seats, the dark wood shelving behind the bar, the dim lighting, great food and friendly staff.
A little history
Pubs were a traditional part of Irish history and culture. In fact, locals used to gather in local pubs after a hard day's work and just to enjoy the company of friends and to socialize. As these pubs also catered to guests and travelers, they also had their own unique menu. Travelers were served local pub food and local ales and they were frequently provided with lodging for the night. Until the early 1960s, pubs also doubled as lodging houses and local grocery stores. Locals and travelers frequented the place in the evenings and pubs formed a combination of grocery store, local hardware store and provided lodging and eating out as well. The pubs also held the name of the owner with the most common names being Mulligan's, Murphy's, Doheny, O'Connor's & Nesbitt's etc. As time passed, almost all pubs evolved into drinking and socializing hangouts that were frequented by local artists, politicians, poets and musicians. This tradition continues until date and most traditional Irish pubs have local musicians playing traditional instruments like the fiddle, flute, guitar, bodhran etc. Now, tourists traveling to the country can easily find Irish pubs in every city and village to enjoy local pub brews, pub food and Irish culture and music at its best. Now larger companies like Guinness set up 'authentic' Irish pubs all over the world. The pubs follow traditional Irish architecture, cuisine, interiors and they even have authentic local Irish staff. This may not be authentic Irish but these chain pubs like Delaney's, Fado's, and The Kinkenny have also proved to be very popular all over the world.
Finding the best local pubs
If you are traveling to Ireland, then local pubs are aplenty. The traditional Irish pub style has managed to become profitable inside Ireland and outside it as well. In fact, in Ireland, pubs in tourist areas are more likely to serve local and international dishes. However, Irish pubs outside Ireland serve only Irish fare like mutton stews and fresh vegetables. You should know that almost all pubs are smoking-free and small owners independently own the vast majority or pubs in Ireland. Some pubs may have an attached brewery and they may sell local microbrews that are very famous locally. The best way to find local pubs is by searching online. There are great local travel websites that will list almost all of the local pubs for tourists. You can also inquire with local hotels, cab drivers and on online forums to find popular local watering holes that are unknown to tourists.