Pub crawling on St. Patrick’s Day always seems apropos. In the U.S., this could mean out of control, drunken misfits in green top hats, clover laden socks, and hired, inebriated leprechauns singing Whiskey in the Jar. Pub crawling in Ireland, however, is a different story.
Granted, the general landscape of the true Irish Pub has been regenerated fairly well overseas, perhaps due to the mass emigration of the Irish people during the famine of the 1840s. The Celtic heritage travels well, accompanied by soft barstools, a proper pint of Guinness (or Murphy’s while in Cork), and a warm fire. If you’re lucky, the cute tender behind the bar in County Clare will teach you how to pour the perfect stout.
Or, you may find your pints are being overlooked by angels at a refurbished, 12th century abbey in Ennis.
And then there’s the day drinking choice of the locals, in many areas a refreshing, local cider. In Galeic Dingle it may be Crean’s, a perfect component to a just-off-the boat fish and chips lunch, and where #twistedsistergoestoireland lives forever on a U.S. dollar bill tacked to the wall at John Benny’s Pub.
Driving through a ring of brilliant sunsets beyond compare, rocky beaches, and picturesque green countryside, the pubs of County Kerry warm the soul in musical flair, with generational Irish families playing flutes and accordians side by side in fervent stride.
And where your Guinness may also be accompanied by a baby.
Traveling East, there are always the outdoor discos of Cork, where cobblestone streets meet tight leather pants and stilettos, often paired with chiseled chests and remnants of British accents, and where reminders of walled cities and revolutions are overtly apparent.
Or, as you can imagine in Dublin, not too far from the Gaol which sparked unrest in a tumultuous population, the perfect pint, poured in a glass pub on top of the city, is perhaps the best Guiness you’ve ever tasted in your entire life.
Suffice it to say, St Patrick’s Day may mean something all together different to me now, since we’ve traveled through the depths of the Irish countryside. One thing is for sure: while you may not find me in a green fuzzy top hat this year, you will find the heart of the gentle Eire, gently swaying in the breeze of mutual love and respect for my ancestors who sailed across rough oceans for a different dream. One of freedom, one of family, and one of plenty.