Top 5 Places to Enjoy an Irish Coffee
If you’re looking for a liquid lift and a bit of cheer, a classic Irish coffee is tough to beat. This warm and creamy potion with a bit of a kick has a storied history. It’s a great drink to enjoy at home, but here at CIE Tours, we have a few suggestions of other places you might enjoy savoring one. Here's our countdown:
5. Where the drink was invented
Foynes, once an airbase for transatlantic flights, is the birthplace of Irish coffee. The delectable drink was created one wintry night in 1943, when a Pan Am “flying boat” en route to New York turned back to Foynes due to bad weather. Joe Sheridan, a chef who worked at Foynes, was asked to prepare hot food and drinks for the freezing passengers. Hoping to revive them while warming them up, Sheridan put some good Irish whiskey into their coffees and topped it with cream. When asked by passengers if he had used Brazilian coffee, Sheridan replied, “No, it’s Irish coffee”.
Today, Foynes is the home of the Flying Boat Museum, focusing on the history of aviation – and of course, tells the story of its role in the creation of the famed beverage. Several CIE Tours guided vacations visit Foynes - enjoy an Irish coffee on the Taste of Britain and Ireland tour.
4. Atop the highest sea cliffs in Europe
Ireland boasts the highest sea cliffs in Europe – no, not the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, but the more remote and even more splendid Slieve League. Three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League offers panoramic views across to the neighboring counties of Sligo and Leitrim and even as far as the mountains of Mayo. It’s the perfect spot to gaze out over the Atlantic. When you visit Ireland with CIE Tours on the Irish Explorer, enjoy a special CIE Tours Exclusive: your local guide will whip you up an Irish coffee, and you can enjoy your drink as you feel the sea breeze in your hair and perhaps the sun on your face, contemplating the wonders of the world atop one of its most spectacular sights.
3. While pondering extreme adventure
As you warm up with your Irish coffee at the historic South Pole Inn in Annascaul, you can hear the tale of its former owner Tom Crean. Crean, a native of the village who lived from 1877 to 1938, left home at 15 to join the Royal Navy. In his twenties, he set out his first expedition to the Antarctic, accompanying Robert Scott; he would eventually journey three times to Antarctica with both Scott and Shackleton. His heroic exploits saved the lives of his fellow explorers, and he remains a beloved folk hero to this day. The pub is a tribute to the man, nicknamed “The Irish Giant”, with pictures and memorabilia on the wall, and today’s owners are happy to tell tales of the great adventurer’s life. Think of the frozen tundra he traversed as you sip your warm and creamy potion, and consider how he came back to his home village to spend the rest of his days running this atmospheric pub. You can visit the South Pole Inn on many of our tours, including Ireland South Daytripper, and Jewels of Ireland.
2. As you sing along to an Irish song
The Marine Bar in Dungarvan may be one of the most entertaining spots to sip an Irish coffee. Cozy up by the peat fireplace as you hear traditional music and listen to the story of this most historic pub – from its early days, nearly three centuries ago, as a stop for thirsty British Marines, to a popular stop along the famed Bianconi Stagecoach line, to the decline of the business with the railway and emigration, and its revival in recent decades. Now owned by musician Christy O’Neill, the bar is a lively, atmospheric spot for music-lovers - Christy may just have a song for you to sing along to as you sip your drink. A visit to the Marine Bar is a CIE Tours Exclusive for those on the Irish Classic, Irish Pub Tour, and Irish Gold guided vacations.
1. In the oldest pub in Europe - and possibly the world
With its old-world charm, turf fireplaces, cozy seating, sawdust-covered floors and live traditional music, Sean’s Bar may just be the best place in the world to enjoy an Irish coffee - and it’s certainly the oldest: The pub, located on the banks of the River Shannon in Athlone, halfway between Dublin and Galway, has a detailed and documented history dating back to 900 AD. The Guinness Book of Records has made it official: Sean's Bar is the oldest pub in Europe - and no older pub has been found in the entire world. When it was renovated in the 1970s, the walls of the bar were found to be made of 'wattle and wicker' dating back to the ninth century, and old coins were also found - they are now on display in Ireland's National Museum, but there are plenty of ancient artifacts that remain covering the walls of the pub. The bar is today full of character, and CIE Tours guests get to visit on the Irish Legends, Irish Pub Tour, or our Irish Gold guided tours.
What better way to spend an afternoon than listening to the friendly bartenders tell the story of the pub while enjoying the unbeatable atmosphere?
Declan Delaney of Sean's Bar has generously shared his recipe for the perfect Sean's Bar Irish Coffee:
A bottle of Sean’s Specially Blended Irish Whiskey
Freshly Brewed Coffee
Double Whipped Cream
1. Heat your glass
2. Add a measure of Sean's Specially Blended Irish Whiskey
3. Add a teaspoon of brown sugar
4. Pour in your freshly brewed coffee and fill 3/4 of the glass
5. Stir all ingredients together
6. Using a spoon, carefully float the lightly whipped cream on top of the coffee
A few tips:
Only use a premium blend of Irish Whiskey
Ensure Coffee is strong
The cream must be freshly whipped and not too thick. The cream must flow off the spoon.