"Pub" is short for "public house," and those who run pubs are "publicans." Historically there were times when pubs were combination grocer's/alehouse; and while this practice may have faded in most major towns and cities, you can still find tucked away in parts of rural Ireland pubs that carry on this tradition. When going out with your friends, it's traditional to buy rounds for those you're with rather than getting your own drinks. Most pubs serve some kind of food as well - and pub food may be some of the best you get on your trip!
The DLPC is a fairly popular Dublin tour which begins at the Duke Pub, second floor, just off pedestrian Grafton Street. You and some 30ish other souls cram together for a pint as your two tourguides set the stage: Dublin, Ireland, and its many famous writers, its favorite haunts ... and its drinkers. There is lots of interesting information given along the way, so while drinking is an enjoyable part of the tour, be sure to keep alert enough to enjoy the guides' banter.
Depending on the time of year and who your guides are, you will visit 3-4 of approximately a dozen or so historical pubs in the Temple Bar/Trinity College area. For our particular tour, we progressed from the Duke, to Trinity's campus, over to M.J. O'Neill's, down to The Old Stand (likely the oldest pub in Dublin, with a history stretching back over 300 years), and finally back to just across from the Duke, to Davy Byrnes (where Joyce set the "Cyclops" chapter of Ulysses).
Of the various pubs we visited (and those we passed), my favorite was M.J. O'Neill's, a large - sprawling, almost - pub on three levels, which was hopping to a local band and where many cozy nooks awaited for conversation. O'Neill's was also the most popular of the places we visited, packed to the gills and three deep at the bar – it was my favorite. (Nine Irishmen pub in Las Vegas draws a striking resemblance to O’Neill’s!)
Our guides were very witty and made the whole experience a good time, although occassionally they did walk a bit fast (only 2 hours to pack in 4 pubs and a few historical sites along the way, you know). At the end of the tour they ran a trivia contest, which was "a good way to see who was paying attention between their drinks, y'see," and the winner got a t-shirt.
There is perhaps 1 to 1-1/2 miles worth of walking, but there are frequent stops so for the most part it is an easy tour (provided you do not imbibe too freely en route!). In all, a great way to spend an evening!
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New York, New York
February 27, 2007
From journal Sweet Tuscany/Lively Dublin
December 22, 2005
From journal Evening Entertainment in Dublin
June 28, 2004
From journal Touring History in Dublin
by Foxboro Marmot
July 29, 2003
The tour starts on the second floor of the Duke Pub on Duke Street. Have a pint - or maybe a half pint, this could develop into a long night - while your guides perform a short segment of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and explain how the tour will work. Then it's off to Trinity College for a bit of Oscar Wilde under the Campanile, followed by a pub stop. Next, another outdoor performance, this time featuring Brendan Behan, another pub and a final stop at the Davy Byrne, made famous by James Joyce.
Outside the last stop, your guides will have a trivia contest. Some questions come from the tour, others from general knowledge of Irish writers. Pay attention now... I'm going to divulge one answer which is almost insured to get you into the finals, in good position for a prize: Oscar Wilde lettered in BOXING at Trinity College.
Although reservations are not required, CALL FOR RESERVATIONS. We arrived a half hour before the scheduled time on a Tuesday and were told we were not likely to get in. Fortunately, a large group with a reservation didn't show up and we were squeezed in.
From journal Shannon to Dublin and Back