The friendliness, atmosphere, music and drinking culture of the Irish pub is legendary across the world. When you visit the west of Ireland, be sure to soak up some of the best nightlife spots at the following:
Thomas Connolly – Holborn Street, Sligo
Connolly’s is an extraordinary staging post for every visitor: an old place (trading since Victorian times) in downtown Sligo, with a period atmosphere that we will never see again. Think of walls of traditional brown with wood panelling and bric-à-brac, real wood casement windows, comfortable seating and small rooms to absorb the crowds. It was once a public grocery store, a fairly common arrangement in the past in Ireland. Groceries are gone now, but most of the atmosphere is still left, including original tea caddies sitting behind the bar. No fancy pub grub or coffee or the like: this is the real thing. A plain pint, of course, is a must!
The Drift Inn – Inishowen, Donegal
If in Inishowen, don’t miss the beautiful Drift Inn, which is housed on the seafront in what was once the beautiful Buncrana train station. The trains have long gone, but this building survives as one of the district’s most attractive pubs. Think of fires burning on cold days, old wooden furniture, stone walls, different maritime themes, with fishing nets hanging on the ceiling, old boat wheels and lobster pots hanging on walls – and live music on weekends. Take a walk along Lisfannon Beach before settling at The Drift Inn for a welcome beer or one or two cocktails. This pub is starting to gain recognition also in fine local cuisine too, so that all your desires can be satisfied under one roof. Travel to the west of Ireland with Irish Airports like https://irelandwestairport.com/
Strand Bar – Strandhill, Sligo
The family-run Strand Bar is located on the edge of the sea in the Strandhill surfers’ paradise. This is the focal point of life at Sligo’s cheerful seaside resort: a spacious bar area, smaller and more comfortable snugs, stone walls and a friendly lawn fireplace. Summer sees visitors spilling over in the comfortable seating area in front of the building, to sit in the sun, drink and look at the panoramic view of the beach and the vast sea. Winter sees fires being lit and life moving indoors. Live music is a regular feature on weekends.
Matt Molloy’s – Westport, County Mayo
Matt Molloy is a member of the traditional Irish band, The Chieftains – his headquarters obviously being the Matt Molloy’s public house, all polished traditional wood and comfortable lighting, located in downtown Westport. Live music is on every night of the week. Note that this is a small place. It can be very crowded in summer and on weekends, but it’s still worth it to be interested if you are in the area.
Neightain Tigh – Cross Street, Galway
Poets, presidential candidates, miners and pint drinkers all rub shoulders in this famous hostel. Formerly part of a townhouse from the Middle Ages, owned by Martin’s family, the house displays a wall plaque dedicated to Richard Martin, otherwise known as “Humanity Dick”, an MP for Galway in the 1800s who created the first animal welfare laws anywhere in the world. Some of the best traditional musicians on the west coast have played here, but you will also see jazz, blues, rock, folk. Music, which is free, runs on weekends and several evenings on weekends. The craft beer from the Galway Hooker Brewery is worth a try.