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Little Gem - Our Favourite Places for Perfect Pints !!

Have you ever been disappointed by a beverage? There is nothing worse than a bad, flat pint of stout! A good pint is a sought after thing. Better yet, the ultimate pint experience.

It must have the precise dimensions and the correct temperature. Some of the things to look out for are; the rings left around the glass after each sip, the colour contrast, the number of people in the locale enjoying it, and most of all to be patient until it settles to sip.

Madigan's Bar Conolly Train Station
Perfect Pint of Guinness

Yet all that can be lost if not best enjoyed in the appropriate surroundings with like minded people. Some like it with music, others the chats, but one thing is for sure is that there is a deep connection between a good pint in a cozy place and lot’s of craic. That means fun times in Irish language. Some might delve deep into the letters of the Irish word to define it further as an acronym ceol (music) rince (dance) amhrain (songs) inis scealta (storytelling) and cainte (gossip). This can also occur by a fireside in a cute cottage. Hear music played by the hearth in County Mayo on our Music by the Fireside experience held in the cottage on Eddie Dooney's Farm.

Playing music by the Hearth County Mayo
Music by the Fireside Experience

Or, seek it out wrapped in the full pub setting. One way to find a perfect pint, is to try a sample from one place to the next, resulting in a thing called a pub crawl. While it may be fun at the time, more sensible types take the advice of an expert driver guide. It can make a journey to Ireland worth every sip. Anyone who has lived outside of Ireland knows that for the best there really is no place like home. Having waited years and travelled many miles to return to their happy place, a cozy pub with the perfect pint.

The environment for this jovial community setting ironically started with being a place to hold the wakes for those who lost their fight against The Great Famine. Then there were small shops that bent the rules of licensing laws. With ladies taking in a wee a sip behind a screen, while going out for ‘the messages’ (which were not just groceries, but lots of gossip too!). Then public houses of all kinds shared the joys with the people, a thriving culture beyond the small cottages. Pubs became a bigger meeting place for making music and singing songs. As traditional sessions made way for ballads singers. In every town there were many options, even if you wanted a simple chat in a talking pub.

The Guinness Story is another one best discovered on your private tour of Ireland. Consider a visit to The Storehouse when in Dublin. Named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2023, by World Travel Awards. Originating in the Liberties, the scent of roasted hops like a mellow coffee wafts in the wind as you pass near the southwestern quays of the River Liffey. The Experience tour was initially an opportunity to take in every detail of the heritage points along the brand development to its global notoriety. Now it offers exciting hands-on options to pour the Perfect Pint, or a VIP experience, and an incredible behind the scenes walking tour around the factory. Bottled stout was more how it began and what goes into the Christmas puddings still now. The evolution of the pint has meant that nice creamy froth is only as a result of a recent nitrogen infusion. It is astounding to think it pumps out two million pints a day. And so much of the story centres around Dublin, with Guinness being behind much of the city’s development and having a reputation as being a privileged place to work by locals.

Guiness Storehouse, St. James Gate, Dublin
Private driver guide Colm Fitzsimons, at St. James Gate

The publican was also a respected member of society, who at times kept order, solved disputes and made sure to close, so people could make it to midnight mass on big feast days, and a family dinner on Sundays. Yet we see it trickle into our stews and breads. This particular roasted flavour lends itself well into hearty recipes, baked goods and chocolates, adding warmth with a tangy finish. We like Clodagh McKenna's Guinness Chocolate cake recipe here.

The recent offering of Guinness Zero has meant that you can enjoy the flavour anytime. In the new advertisements the creamy froth screams to the tune of Bonnie Tylers 80 rock pop hit "Holding out for a Hero", as we were all holding out for a Zero!! and creating another genius and catchy advertisement.

Can and pint of Guinness Zero, a new Alcohol free drink
Alcohol free Guinness Zero


Little Gem's Top 15 Cozy Pubs and Perfect Pints in Ireland!

Where can you go to taste the best pint in Ireland? Take a private tour of Ireland to find it.

Go no further, as we have many years of experience and taste testers in our expert guides.

We have their favourite places for a pint listed here and hope you will join them to say Sláinte on your private tour of Ireland.



JJ Finan’s, Charlestown, County Mayo 

as voted for by Julian Vignoles from Dublin City.

Traditional pub with music sessions and a hardware shop
Johnny’s Bar in John Finan's Hardware Store

A true pub from the rare auld times, find Johnny’s Bar tucked inside the back of John Finan's Hardware Store, operating since 1953. In old world style take a pint when you come in to pick up groceries, pots and pans, a farm tool, or a chair. Traditions upheld for decades and traditional music sessions held regularly. 

Renewed interest fell on the place when the Gallagher brothers, aka Oasis, came to visit their granny a Mayo native Margaret Sweeney, known as a shining light in the rural pub. If you want to know about life here pick up the book, ‘A Little Bit of Ireland’ by John Finan.

Discover JJ Finan's on our 8 Day Wild Atlantic Experience Tour


Peadar O’Donnells Bar in Derry City

as voted for by Dermot McClooskey From Derry City

Peadar O'Donnell's historic pub with grocers and flags
Peadar O'Donnell's historic pub

Peadar O'Donnell's is a historic pub located in Derry City in the north of Ireland. The pub was originally opened in 1908 and is named after the famous Irish Republican, socialist and writer, Peadar O'Donnell. Famous for its live traditional music nightly, friendly atmosphere, grocer pub decor and flag collection.

Enjoy Peadar O'Donnells on our 15 Day Private Tour of All Ireland


McGann’s Pub and McDermott’s Pub in Doolin

as voted for by Martin Dooney from Mayo/Donegal

Traditonal pubs filled with the finest traditional music in Doolin
McGann's Pub (McDermotts is across the road)

Traditional Irish music has a home in Doolin and none more so than in McDermotts Pub. With the finest musicians in the world gathering in Doolin, find many regulars in McDermotts. Cross the road of this lively corner of County Clare to McGann’s Pub to tap your feet with nightly traditional music sessions on much of the year. Doolin, and these two locales are an ideal place to experience the magical music in a friendly atmosphere.

Take in McDermotts on our 12 Day Ancient East by Wild West


The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna

as voted for by Bobby Walsh from Belfast City

The Roadside Tavern a cozy lounge with music in Lisdoonvarna
The Roadside Tavern

Step back in time as The Roadside Tavern creates cosy lounge with a traditional polished wooden bar and low ceilings. Encased by a photo gallery of enigmatic musicians and memories of lively evenings. The wall of fame includes The Fureys, Christy Moore, Davy Spillane and Sharon Shannon. Owner, Peter Curtain brings his family home, proud Irish heritage, as well as ancient tales, and stories of modern day bards, to all who visit.

Visit the Roadside Tavern on our private tours in Ireland


The Long Hall, Georges St. Dublin City

as voted for by Jimmy Mulrooney from Dublin City

The Long Hall, Victorian style pub

In operation since 1881, the elaborate Victorian features, wood and antiques make it a favourite pub to many in the city, with a famous regular when he’s in town in Bruce Springsteen. Well maintained pipes make for one of the best pints in Dublin.

Enjoy The Long Hall at the beginning of any of our airport to airport private tour packages


Tigh Ned's on Inis Oirr, outside on a warm summer's night!

as voted for by Colm Rogers From County Galway

Ned's house back patio views of the Atlantic Ocean
Outdoor patio at Tigh Ned's

An absolute gem, when the weather is fine, enjoy the sea view in the beer garden. Enjoy a warm welcome into a pubs that feels like your own home. Great music and craic, plus delicious seafood caught locally.

Take an adventure to Tigh Ned's on our customised private tours


The Quay's, Galway City

as voted for by Rosie Dooney, from County Mayo

The Quay's, Latin Quarter in Galway

Awarded The Best Late Bar, Best Music Venue in Pub awards The Quay's is found in the Latin Quarter. A favourite for Galweigans and visitors for over 400 years in this historic area. The Music Hall is famous with a pipe organ stage on stilts. A unique venue for Gaelic language television music shows and weekly music shows.

Check out The Quay's in Galway on our 7 Day South by West Explorer


Tig Neachtain, Galway

as voted for by Richard Ball From The Boyne Valley, County Meath

Tig Neachtain traditional bar with vintage whiskey and craft brews
Tig Neachtain, Galway City

There has been a beverage for everyone here since 1894, now with home brews and vintage whiskeys. Many of the best traditional musical talents have played here with live music shows throughout the week. Tig Neachtain attracts a diverse and eclectic crowd here in the heart of Galway City, where the doors are open wide to welcome all to warm by the fire.

Enjoy Tigh Neachtains during your private family tour of Ireland!


Morrissey's pub in Abbleyleix, Co. Laois

as voted for by Trudy Carmody From County Laois

Old photo of Morrissey's traditional pub in county Laois
Morrissey's, since 1775

A traditional Irish family owned pub. And the Guinness is good. Morrissey's first opened as a grocery in 1775. In keeping with old tradition, television, cards and singing are not allowed.

Enjoy a stop midway in Ireland in this attractive town to sit by a pot belly stove. They take pride in those who have worked hard to keep it going, with a staff list going back to 1850.

Customise your tour in Ireland and visit Morrissey's Pub


Glandore Inn, Co. Cork

as voted for by Elva Deegan from County Cork

View from the patio over fishing port of Union Hall
Glandore Inn outdoor patio with sea views

Looking out over the picturesque fishing port of Union Hall, The Glandore Inn is local family-owned (who also have experience in the fishing industry). Come here for fresh tasty, locally sourced food. In addition to good pints they boast a range of craft beers, fabulous wines and local gins and West Cork Whiskey. The show stopper is the outside patio with spectacular ocean views and stunning sunsets.

Explore Glandore on our one of our many multi-day private tours in Ireland


Dan and Molly's pub, Ballyboy, Offaly

as voted for by Tony Corcoran from County Laois

Thatch pub in County Offaly
Dan & Molly's, since 1937

Find the only thatch pub in County Offaly nestled at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom mountains. A continuous place of conviviality since the early 1800s. Known as Dan & Molly's since 1937. This is a family favourite, always a warm welcome, great music and the people are salt of the earth. 

Why not visit Dan and Molly's during one our Luxury Escorted Tours of Ireland


Tig Bhric & West Kerry Brewery

as voted for by Ruth O'Meara from Westmeath

An Arty pub by West Kerry Brewery
Tig Bhric, a traditional pub with an artistic twist

The century has transformed Tig Bhric like no other. The Arts and an Riasc, (the marshland in Irish) and mystery have arrived into the traditional pub setting. Now a local landmark for stained glass, paintings and Adrienne’s sculptured centre pieces dug out from Cúl Dorcha beach nearby.  Admire the setting then tour the first craft brewery in Kerry with time for samples.

Take a stop at Tig Bhric on our All Ireland Tour


The Grainne Uaile, Newport

by Siobhán Wallace, County Louth & Mayo

A Pirate Queen salute at this venue for traditional music and more.
The Grainne Uaile, a salute to the Pirate Queen

The acoustics in The Grainne Uaile combine with talented musicians to make for a brilliant session. Overlooking Clew Bay, this traditional family owned pub is named after one of Irelands most famous women, the pirate Queen 'Gráinne Uaile' or Gráinne Mhaol and Grace O'Malley, drop by one of her castles closeby, Rockfleet castle. More regal claims to fame followed, when in 1979 Princess Grace had plans to restore the ruined cottage of her grandfather at Drimurla. Though she did not live to put the plans fully into motion her son, Prince Albert of Monaco visited his ancestral home and stopped here to have a good pint. 

Stop by The Grainne Uaile during our 8 Day Wild Atlantic Way Adventure


Mulligans Pub, Poolbeg Street

by Eva Reavley from County Dublin

Mulligan's is famous and a talking pub
John Mulligan Public House

Perch at the bar, or try to find a seat in this popular stop hidden in between the Quays and College Green. The Irish Times newspaper offices and Trinity University nearby bring along the intrigued to ponder on the state of the world, while sampling beer and bacon fries. If you feel a song coming on it won't be long before you will be shushed into submission, for this is a talking pub!

Take in Mulligans during your time in Dublin City!


Slattery's Rathmines  

as voted for by Julian Vignoles from Dublin City

The red and white striped awning to the and warm lights of the pub exterior
Slattery's Pub, Rathmines in Dublin City

A gathering place for generations to catch up with friends, watch a match, or listen to some live music. Find friendly bartenders in this family-run Irish pub with warm lighting, mahogany furnishings and cozy snugs to make you feel at home in the south of Dublin city.

Get off the beaten path to Slattery's during your customised private tour


We trust you are now thirsty for more adventures and ready to discover these perfect places to enjoy the craic along the way with us on a private tour of Ireland....

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