During the winter, the shortened days and colder climate may not be a draw for everyone. But winter is the perfect time, in my opinion, to take advantage of some of Ireland’s cosiest pubs.
There is no better feeling than sitting by a roaring turf fire, pint in hand with a thick pair of woollen socks enclosed in well worn boots as you rest by the fire’s edge after an exhilarating day of adventuring. Why not soak up the atmosphere in one of these winter-ready establishments below?
Not visiting Ireland in winter? Don’t worry – pubs are an all-year-round experience.
Situated in South Donegal and only a stone’s throw from Bundoran and Slieve League Cliffs, this delightful home-away-from-home boasts a gorgeous open fire and traditional Irish furnishings. A family-run pub, its endearing name is credited to its beautifully thatched roof – a sight in itself! On the first Wednesday of every month, you’ll find the locals gathered by the hearth for a few songs and a bit of storytelling. Feel free to join in!
As the capital of Connemara, Clifden is bound to have a few pubs worth shouting about. By far, the most inviting is Lowry’s for both its history and its atmosphere. If you’re itching to catch some traditional (trad) Irish music on your travels you’re sure to find some here, with live music on offer seven nights a week. Believe it or not, a dental practice once operated in a back room of the public house – perfectly located for patrons to settle nerves and numb their pain before being seen to!
An incredibly quaint stone cottage in off the road, blink and you’d miss it! It may be small but it sure is full of character – with another blazing open fire for warming the soul. One of oldest premises on Achill Island in Co. Mayo, it’s rich with local characters with plenty of tales to tell.
Over the past generation, Ireland has changed a lot thanks to globalisation and opening up to the wider world. But not so long ago, villages like Dingle were small and had to be somewhat self-sustaining, meaning that many people had duel businesses. In the case of Foxy John’s, this meant pub + hardware store. Many traditional businesses have since gone one way or another, but not Foxy John’s – they still operate as both! Even better, catch a pre-dinner session of live trad music – the musicians line up behind the counter of this wee pub!
Not only is it cosy, The Strand’s location in the surfing village of Strandhill is a pretty spectacular location. During winter storms, the waves on the coasts of northwest Ireland are perfect for big-wave surfers. While the village is less bustling than in spring, The Strand is a cosy spot to listen to trad music in front of a turf fire, catch a bit of the local match or game on the telly, chat with the locals and try some local Irish craft beers such as Sligo’s own White Hag beers.
A great spot for music, Bernard Harringtons – or The Maple Leaf as it’s also called – attracts both locals and travellers alike. The bar is split between a small nooky Irish traditional pub set up on the left and a larger lounge through a door to the right. There’s a bit of everything and the owner has the memory of an elephant – in fact, he remembered a friend of mine who re-visited two years after her initial visit! You’ll be glad to know the musicians set up right by the fire and you can help keep it stoked through the night as there’s an ample supply of logs and turf on hand. Situated right on main street, it’s just down the street from the ferry to Garnish Island and a short drive to both Kenmare and Bantry. What more could you want!?
If curling up in a typical Irish pub in front of a roaring peat fire with a pint in hand, tapping your feet to sound of live traditional Irish music after a day of adventuring sounds like your sort of fun, then check out a few options on how to make this dream a reality, even in the off season.
Learn more about how you can build your dream custom trip to Ireland this winter.Tailor Made Winter Trips
Find out about our new collection of Private Departures throughout Ireland – available all year round.Private Departures
Want to travel at your own pace without a guide? Check out our 5 week-long self drive trips that allow you stress-free flexibility.Self Drive Itineraries
Spring is beautiful, quiet and mild. As the days slowly get longer, the emerald countryside is alive with new life, bouncing lambs, adorable puffins and blossoming wildflowers.Find out more
Never too hot, summer is home to some of Ireland’s driest months. Enjoy the Summer Solstice, summer festivities, plentiful flora and fauna, and near-endless days.Find out more
Ireland's harvest season is colourful, lively and full of delicious flavours. Admire dramatic and atmospheric lighting, crashing waves and Samhain, from which Halloween originates.Find out more
The perfect time of year to explore empty landscapes, shorter days mean spectacular sunrises, sunsets and stargazing - perhaps even snow. And of course, Christmas festivities.Find out more
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