Irish Pubs and Pub Culture

Drinking halls, cultural heritage and an integral part of the Irish way of life

Pubs, actually the short form of Public House, are certainly not dimly lit and brawly watering holes. Pubs, there are approximately over 10.000 of them in Ireland, are rather deeply rooted in the Irish society. Here you meet with friends, neighbours and also completely strangers, in order to converse in a relaxed atmosphere. Feasts are celebrated here and simple meals, so called “Barfood”, are served. In the Singing Pubs musicians of all kinds come together for joint sessions. Anyone who wants to can join in spontaneously. If you like, pubs are melting pots of social encounters, in which all social ranks get together.

And – okay we admit it at this point – of course they drink a lot in Irish Pubs. If one wants to know, why they drink that much in Irish Pubs, then you sometimes get the answer that Ireland simply produces the best Stouts and Whiskeys in the world. One could barely refuse to that. The black-brown Guinness is indeed not only the most common beer brand of Ireland, but also something like a national symbol. The Irish whiskey as well, whether Bushmills, Jameson or Tullamore Dew, enjoys great popularity among whiskey connoisseurs. Seems like the hypocritical argument isn´t that absurd.

To the disappointment of a number of regulars, there is no alcohol service in Irish Pubs on two complete days a year: on Good Friday and on Christmas Day. This prohibition causes controversial discussions for quite some time. In the spring of 2010 some Pub owners rehearsed the uprising in Limerick. As chance would have it, a big rugby match, to which numerous visitors confirmed their coming, was scheduled for Good Friday. The landlords used this occasion to obtain a special permission, to serve hard liquor on exactly this Good Friday. Attended by a nationwide media response, the landlords celebrated their success, while the church representatives sulked.

Pubs act also as an important part in the Irish culture. So the Irish pub culture cast a spell over many great writers. It doesn´t matter if James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde or Brendan Behan- they all wrote stories, in which the centre is a Pub. Rumour has it that some searched for their inspiration only in pubs. Another phenomena are the Pub songs. Barely one tourist returns from Ireland, without a memorable melody burned in its mind or even in its heart. The pub songs contain the whole gamut of human existence, and often they sing about the passionate affection for alcoholic drinks and its consequences.