One of Ireland’s oldest pubs is located in the capital, Dublin. Stepping into The Brazen Head feels like stepping back in time. Founded in 1198, this place has lived through several versions of Ireland, from English rule to new independence and into the 21st century. Today, it remains a popular spot in the city, especially among tourists.
In fact, this bar was voted Ireland’s best tourist bar in 2023. Sitting at the bar, with a pint of Guinness of course, I soaked in the conversations (almost like eavesdropping) of people around me.
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The American accent made an immediate impression on me. There was also discussion about how Guinness in Ireland is better than in the US, how they tried their favorite whiskeys in Ireland, and as expected, Irish traditions.
The pub has been restored to maintain its original character and this is evident from the start. It stands opposite the bar and stands out in the best possible way. Surrounded by modern buildings and a very different Dublin than the city that was there in 1198, its stone façade and alley entrances will take you back in time.
As you walk in, you’ll find a wonderful courtyard where people from all over the world are sitting, speaking different languages but all enjoying the exact same experience – a very Dublin pub. I chose a seat at the bar and looked at the memorabilia on the wall.
There were framed photographs of Irish rebel leaders such as Michael Collins, and flags of several countries hung from the ceiling. Behind the bar was a display of police badges from all over the United States, a nod to the important presence of Irish people in American law enforcement.
Behind me there were couples and groups eating Irish food from the food menu. The smell was so good I couldn’t stand it, but I had a mission. It was all about enjoying a solid pint of Guinness while returning to my hometown for Christmas.
The menu includes Irish favorites such as beef and Guinness pie, fish and chips, bacon and cabbage, and steamed mussels. I can’t say that I tried the dish, but I certainly haven’t heard any complaints from the happy diners around me.
Halfway through finishing my pint I saw other punters who seemed to be coming from all directions and decided to explore. Surprisingly, he had 3 other rooms and even a bar with plenty of seating.
With no television in sight and music playing softly in the background, The Brazen Head is a true Irish pub experience. That’s not surprising considering they’ve been in the game for a thousand years.
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This bar is definitely aimed at tourists. Considering a pint of Guinness was over 7 euros, it’s not the kind of place you’d go out all night. However, if an American tourist were to ask me where to go when visiting this city, I would definitely include The Brazen Head on my list of recommendations.
Brazen Head is located a little outside of the center of Dublin, but still close to many of the city’s attractions. Just a short walk from the historic Liberty’s area and Smithfield, recently named one of the world’s coolest neighborhoods by Time Out magazine.
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