Generally speaking, the bars and clubs north of the river are quieter than those south of the river. For those looking for a night of guaranteed loud music and hoping to meet a young vibrant crowd, the Northside is not the best choice. However, the pubs on the Northside tend to be more ‘Irish’ and are frequented by more Dubliners.
Unsurprisingly, O’Connell Street and its neighbouring streets have a huge selection of pubs that offer an authentic Dublin night out for visitors who wants to be surrounded by, and make friends with, the local Dublin population. Irish bars – and particularly ones on the Northside – lend themselves to a friendly atmosphere, thus it’s expected and usual for those on holiday to strike up a conversation with the locals. Irish people tend to be inquisitive and friendly so they will be full of tips and suggestions for your holiday.
If you are looking to start your holiday by making some friends then a good place to spend your first night in Dublin is the Celt on Talbot Street – this is a really good pub for music, friendliness and you can also get a really nice bite to eat there.
The Celt — Talbot Street
Before we tell you about this pub it might be an idea to know a bit about the street that it lies on. It’s a pub on Talbot Street, which leads onto O’Connell Street which is Dublin’s main thoroughfare. Talbot Street also links O’Connell Street to Amiens Street, which houses Connolly Station and Busaras (the main bus station in Dublin). Whilst Talbot Street has a reputation for being slightly run down and dreary (lots of internet cafes and pointless shops) the Celt drags some life into this old Dublin street and it will certainly give your holiday an evening to remember.
The Celt is a good old-fashioned haunt for Dublin’s regulars and the occasional visitor to town. It offers good live music seven days a week, and is always a good place to go to get a good dose of Guinness and traditional music.
One of the Celt’s best recommendations is that it is frequently packed with locals, who choose it because of its great music and the sense of fun that it offers every night of the week. Dubliners are very welcoming and the Celt will bring you some unforgettable memories. It is the kind of pub that afternoons can very quickly become evening in, and one pint becomes many. It hosts lots of types of music, from open mic nights through to traditional and modern. It gives a regular platform to new and emerging talent that you would otherwise probably miss. Every night at the Celt is very ‘Irish’ – the regulars, the beers, the craic, the great music – these all combine to make this one of the most authentic traditional pubs in Northside Dublin. In fact, the only criticism that could be levelled against the Celt is that the music is too loud. By the end of the evening, though, it is more likely that you will be contributing to the noise rather than complaining about it, as singalongs are a regular occurrence here.
Many visitors to Dublin upon stumbling into the Celt become regulars for the duration of their stay; visiting again and again until their trip comes to an inevitable end. This pub has a truly warm and welcoming feel that is helped by the open fire, but ensured by the interesting and inquisitive locals who contribute to Dublin’s fame as the home of ‘craic’.
Food is served all day at the Celt – we recommend that you eat here if your are arriving in the afternoon with the intention of partying on until the evening and night. The menus are as traditional as the music, with soups and stews served and enjoyed every day of the week. Food is generally quite cheap and, whilst it can take some time to arrive, it will fortify you for your evening of drinks and dancing.
There is a also a nice beer garden out the back, which is ideal for use by smokers and on sunny days. A nice summer’s afternoon spent in the beer garden of the Celt followed by an evening of partying inside is one of the nicest ways to spend any spare day of your holiday to Ireland. This is one of those pubs in Dublin that can easily carry away a whole day of your holiday, however, you won’t feel any regret the next day, but you might feel a hangover!
3 really good pubs on Marlborough Street
There are also plenty of good traditional pubs on Marlborough Street, which runs parallel to O’Connell Street. Talbot Street intersects Marlborough Street before it ends on O’Connell Street. Marlborough Street has a few good pubs which you can rely on for friendliness and a taste of good Guinness and that legendary ‘craic’, as follows.
1 — The Confession Box
The Confession Box is a small bar which has regular impromptu traditional music sessions. It has a reputation for having a hardcore set of regulars with Nationalist leanings; indeed the story is that it is named the Confession Box as a priest would frequent the pub to hear the confessions of IRA members. However, today this is a good, cosy pub and one that has become increasingly welcoming to visitors to Ireland from afar, including tourists arriving just off the ferry from the UK.
2 — The Flowing Tide
Just down the road from the Confession Box, and opposite the world-renowned Abbey Theatre, is the Flowing Tide pub. This pub has a huge range of clientele: some who are having a post or pre Theatre drink; others who are regulars; and a few who are fortunate enough to find this gem of a pub while on holiday.
3 — Sean O’Caseys
Sean O’Casey was a world-renowned Dublin playwright, whose plays include: Juno and the Paycock; The Plough and the Stars; and Shadow of a Gunman. Considering that the Sean O’Caseys pub is just over the road from the world famous Abbey Theatre, it has a very fitting name. However, unlike the Flowing Tide which is just down the road, Sean O’Caseys pub does not have a theatrical theme and does not pay homage to Dublin’s illustrious reputation for theatre. This is a GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) pub and many of the locals will be discussing the latest game gone, or the next one coming. You can’t ignore Hurling or Gaelic Football if you are in Ireland, and if you are visiting Dublin during the in-season we recommend this pub as a venue to watch a live game – especially if Kerry are playing. In England you will find Irish pubs; In Dublin you won’t find Irish pubs – you will find Cork pubs, or Kerry pubs; or Donegal pubs. And this Kerry pub is one of the best in the whole of Dublin in terms of friendliness, quality Guinness, match-day atmosphere and in providing a genuine slice of Irish drinking culture. On top of all this, the pub is a really striking colour.