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Our Favorites: Historic Pubs We Love

Whether your tastes are medieval or Victorian, Ireland has the perfect place to raise a glass

Irish pubs aren’t just venues to quench your thirst – they are places for storytelling, music-making, and merriment. And the pub tradition in Ireland is a hallowed one – with many pubs dating back hundreds of years. As we look forward to the day we’ll be lifting our glasses – together – again, here is a look at a few of our favorites:

Crosskeys Inn is a charming country pub in Antrim- and the oldest thatched pub in Ireland. This old stone cottage, dating back to the 17th century, was once an inn for stagecoach passengers heading between Belfast and Derry. It served time as a shop and post office before its current incarnation as a pub. The authentic thatched roof is a real standout – once everywhere all over Ireland, only a couple of thousand of these traditional roofs remain. The building shows its heritage vividly: the stone floors are worn down from generations of footsteps, the walls are uneven, and the various rooms of the pub have open turf fires. Today the pub is famed for the warm welcome of its proprietors and as a popular spot for traditional musicians.

Sean’s Bar in Athlone can lay claim to being the most historic bar of all. This charming old pub has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest pub - not just in Ireland, but in Europe! (And likely the world.) The pub has been around since 900 AD. Not only does it have a documented and detailed history, but archeologists have dated some “wattle and wicker” walls -- uncovered in a 1970s renovation – all  the way back to the ninth century. Check out the castle next door – it’s 200 years younger than Sean’s! Visit the pub and you’ll see ancient artifacts on the wall, sawdust-covered floors, and cozy turf fireplaces.

Blakes of the Hollow in Enniskillen is a classic Victorian pub from 1887 that still features its 19th-century atmosphere. The walls are paneled, the floors are elegantly tiled, and the bar is made from marble. It’s a beautiful, nostalgic spot for conversation over a quiet drink. Don’t miss the “Door of Thrones” – a quirky modern add-on, it’s carved from the wood of a fallen tree from the nearby Dark Hedges, made famous as a filming location for “Game of Thrones”.

Walled City Brewery is in Derry, mere steps away from the Peace Bridge that commemorates the process which put an end to the Troubles of the last century. Housed in an old military barracks, this stylish brewhouse and restaurant symbolizes Derry’s regeneration. Its history is tragic, but this thriving city is forward-looking and creative. Check out the signature brews, some of which were inspired by the popular TV show Derry Girls.

Marine Bar in Dungarvan is a cozy spot where you can sit by a peat fire as you quench your thirst, as people have been doing for three centuries. In its earliest days it served as a stop for British Marines based nearby, and later on it became a popular stop for passengers along the stagecoach line, which passed nearby. When the railway led to the end of stagecoach traffic, and emigration rose, the pub’s fortunes declined. Musician Christy O’Neill purchased the bar in recent years, and revived it. Marine Bar is now a lively spot where music lovers gather and local musicians often play.

O’Connor’s Pub is an antique-packed pub in Galway’s seaside suburb of Salthill. Owned by the O'Connor family for three generations, it’s a lively spot with a celebrity claim to fame: musician Ed Sheeran filmed his 2018 video for Galway Girl here, which stared actress Saoirse Ronan. The fiddle from the video is still in the bar, a popular prop for photos with visitors. Sheeran wasn’t the first notable to stop in – O’Connor’s has hosted actor such luminaries as Martin Sheen, singer Art Garfunkel, and a host of Ireland’s most beloved musicians. And it’s no wonder: the welcome is warm, the fireplace is lit, and the atmosphere is unbeatable in this intriguing old pub.

At CIE Tours, we're looking forward to the day we can show you these wonderful pubs we love so much - and all these pubs are exclusive venues on group tours. Hopefully it won't be long before we're saying "Sláinte" again! 

Ireland Tours

Showing 13 of 13 total
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Mystical Ireland

Starting from $1695

4.9
8 Days

Explore the lesser-known northern half of Ireland, starting in Dublin and ending in Shannon. This itinerary hugs the coastline and visits St. Patrick country, Titanic Belfast, the walled city of…

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

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The Irish Pub Tour

Starting from $1595

4.8
8/9 Days

Irish pubs are the hearts of their communities—a source of camaraderie, stories, and song. Raise a glass (or two!) to rich pub culture and history on this guided tour of Ireland, which offers…

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

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Irish Gold

Starting from $1730

4.8
8/9 Days

Take your time on this Ireland tour, which explores the most acclaimed sights in the south and west, including the mountainous beauty of Connemara.

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

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Irish Odyssey

Starting from $2450

4.8
12 Days

Explore Ireland's gorgeous scenery and rich history on this comprehensive Irish tour that hits every corner of the island.

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Irish Classic

Starting from $2895

4.8
13 Days

Skirt along the entire rugged coastline to see the highlights on this Ireland tour. 

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The Scots Irish Tour

Starting from $2395

4.9
11/15 Days

This fast-paced Scotland and Ireland tour focuses on their rich history, with plenty of castle tours and museums to help bring the past to life. It's the perfect trip for those interested in…

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

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Scottish & Irish Gold

Starting from $3295

4.8
15/16 Days

This great combination tour covers the same itinerary in Scotland as on the Scottish & Irish Dream with romantic castles, mythical Isle of Skye, historic Culloden, and Edinburgh. In Ireland…

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups

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Mystical Ireland Self-Drive

Starting from $1475

8 Days

Go a little off the beaten path as you explore the best of the north and west of Ireland, including Donegal and Connemara. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast, and the Cliffs of Moher.…

Independent Adventures

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Irish Gold Self-Drive

Starting from $1910

9 Days

Venture to the most acclaimed sights and scenic byways of the West and South of Ireland. Visit Kylemore Abbey in beautiful Connemara, raise a glass in Sean’s Bar – Europe’s oldest pub, stroll…

Independent Adventures

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The Irish Pub Tour Self-Drive

Starting from $718

9 Days

Enjoy driving adventures by day, and raise a glass in some of Ireland’s liveliest cities and towns by night. Visit Sean’s Bar in Athlone, the oldest in Europe. See Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse –…

Independent Adventures

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Irish Classic with Driver

Starting from $7030

13 Days

Skirt along the entire rugged coastline as your specialist driver/guide shows you all the highlights. See the Giant’s Causeway, Donegal, Westport House, the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Waterford, and…

Independent Adventures

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Irish Odyssey with Driver

Starting from $6365

12 Days

Explore gorgeous scenery and get the inside story on it all from your specialist driver/guide as you circle the entire island on this comprehensive tour. Visit Kylemore Abbey, the Giant’s Causeway…

Independent Adventures

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The Irish Pub Tour with Driver

Starting from $3960

9 Days

A pub tour with a difference: your dedicated driver/guide will bring you to Ireland’s legendary pubs and show you the historic highlights in Ireland’s liveliest cities and towns. Visit the oldest…

Independent Adventures

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