As a UNESCO “City of Literature,” Dublin attracts thousands of book-loving tourists every year. Home to many a great writer over the decades, it continues to inspire up-and-coming authors with its dreamlike appeal and vintage aura. For a bibliophile visiting the city for the first time, a trip to the Dublin Writers Museum and James Joyce Museum is a must. However, for those who want to get in the shoes of geniuses like WB Yeats and Oscar Wilde, there is nothing more exciting than a Dublin pub crawl that features bars frequented by the city’s literary elite.
Dating back to 1198, The Brazen Head gets to be the first stop on any Dublin pub crawl simply because it is the oldest in Ireland. As for its literary connection, James Joyce was a regular here and even mentions it in Ulysses. Then there is also a reference to the pub in a letter by Jonathan Swift, who was the Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral situated nearby.
Nowadays, the pub is permanently busy with both locals and tourists. The Brazen Head is famous for its hospitality, and the friendly staff is ever-ready to discuss Irish traditions with customers. Promising an authentic atmosphere, lively music events, and the best pub-grub in the city, The Brazen Head has everything you need for a memorable night out in Dublin.
Another historical destination in the city, Toners Pub has been operational since 1818. The multi-award-winning establishment deserves to be on your Dublin literary pub crawl because it is believed that Toners Pub is the only place where WB Yeats would ever have the occasional drink. Patrick Kavanagh, the famous Irish poet, also patronized the pub.
Travelers visiting Toners Pub now will find that it takes much pride in its ancient heritage. There is still a stock drawer behind the bar that dates back to the pub’s starting days and a cupboard full of vintage artifacts adds to the authentic ambiance. Moreover, a beer garden in the back makes it the ideal spot in Dublin for a pint on a warm summer afternoon.
Davy Byrnes has only one mention in James Joyce’s Dubliners. In Ulysses, though, Leopold Bloom enters the premises and orders the now-iconic gorgonzola cheese sandwich with a glass of Burgundy. Joyce was a regular at Davy Byrnes and knew the proprietor, but this little interaction in the classic made the pub a literary hotspot and an essential stop during a Dublin pub crawl.
If you were to step inside Davy Byrnes today, you’d find that it takes a more sophisticated pub approach rather than a traditional one. The marble top bar, moody lighting, and local art on the walls give the pub an inimitable character. Known for its drinks, the food at Davy Byrnes is often underrated and deserves mention. The Irish lamb stew which comes with Guinness brown bread is lip-smackingly tasty, as are the Lambay Island crab claws.
One can always hop around from one literary Dublin pub to another on their own. However, if you prefer to not worry about the logistics, The Duke is where the famous Dublin Literary Pub Crawl tour begins every evening. Why this particular pub? Well, James Joyce, James Stephens, Arthur Griffith, Brendan Behan, and Brian O’Nolan are but a few poets and writers who have stepped inside this gorgeous Irish establishment at one time or another for a pint or tête-à-tête with friends.
In the past and now, the Duke’s attraction lies in the fact that it is a quiet place that celebrates the traditionality of the local pub culture. They do have music events and comedy shows, but it is a lovely spot to have a meaningful conversation, contemplate life, and enjoy a refreshing pint of Guinness. The food is equally spectacular with their Jameson infused smoked salmon, beef and Guinness pie, and homemade apple crumble being dishes you should absolutely try.