Ireland and pubs go together like fish and chips. You really can’t fully experience one without the other. Of course, Irish pubs and fish and chips go together quite nicely, too.

Travelers tend to see the Irish pub as an adult experience, but it is a place your entire family is welcome and can enjoy. In fact, the ‘family pub crawl’ is something my daughters look forward to as much as my husband and I during our trips to Ireland.

Enjoying live music in a Connemara pub


You Take Your Kids to a Bar?

Well, if you want to be technical, I suppose so. Bars are called that because of the long bar that drinks are served on. As most pubs have bars, I guess I am taking my kids into a bar. But a pub is really so much more.

The Public House, or pub, is a gathering place for friends and family, travelers and tourists. A place where you can relax with a drink, take a meal, enjoy the craic, and (hopefully) catch some live music.

A Few Tips for Your Family Pub Crawl

As you enter the pub, look for a table that is in view of the stage (if there is one) and in easy distance of the bar. In many pubs you won’t have wait staff to get your drinks, so you’ll be making that run yourself.  Tip: if there is no stage but you know the pub has a music session, ask where the musicians usually sit so you can make a good table choice.

You’ll find that most pubs serve food; many place their menus outside for perusal. Chicken or fish goujons and burgers with a side of chips will usually please the picky eaters. You’ll also find hearty stews, fresh fish, and yummy Irish beef on most menus.

Finding a pub with music is relatively easy. If you are staying at a B&B, your host can direct you. Often a walk through town can answer your questions, as many pubs post chalkboards outside with music and specials. Or pick up a local ‘What’s On’ publication, which details dates, times, and musicians – very handy for finding early sessions.

Open yourself to the fun and conversations. The craic is what makes a pub lively. Answer questions with one of your own, let the kids dance (if there is space), and immerse yourself in the experience. And don’t forget to practice good pub etiquette.

Keep an eye on the kids and know when they are done. In larger towns you may find that families leave the pubs before 10pm, while in smaller towns well behaved children can stay later. If you aren’t sure, ask your bartender.

My girls have danced the night away at pubs in Clifden, enjoyed early sessions in Doolin, and chilly afternoons with hot cocoa and friendly locals in pubs across the country.

Dancing in a Irish Pub


The Irish pub experience isn’t just a must for adults, but is an experience the entire family can enjoy during their Ireland vacation.


by Jody Halsted

Views: 375

Tags: Hospitality, Travel

Comment by Michael Quane on January 7, 2014 at 3:31pm

I heard a story, though maybe apochryphal, about an American visiting modern-day Ireland for the first time, who probably had seen too many screenings of The Quiet Man. On entering a pub he loudly announced, "God bless all here," only to look up and see an X-rated film on the TV screen. As my father would say, have you ever heard the like?

Comment by Joe Gannon on January 8, 2014 at 4:43pm

It's definitely not a good idea to "loudly announce" anything as a stranger entering an Irish pub. The Irish are very welcoming, but they dont necessarily "suffer fools" easily. I've certainly never seen anything like you are describing on TV in a pub there, however. Every time I've been in one, regardless of the day of the week, there always seems to be either hurling or Gaelic football on the TV. At least thats the case if it's at night.

Comment by Rose Maurer on January 10, 2014 at 10:12am

You have a point there BFAS, as I think I have mentioned before, in South Africa, children are simply not allowed in pubs, and women may choose to sit in a 'Ladies Bar' or 'Lounge' with friends to enjoy their tipple.

The 'clubs' patronised by adolescents, many of them under 18 years, despite the 'bouncers' are another story entirely, but we don't suggest 'to go down the pub'! Perhaps our predominantly sunny weather encourages a barbecue (braaivleis = burning meat) in our back gardens - admittedly with the men ducking off inside to check the rugby/football or cricket score on the TV. I must not forget the F! motor racing either, although that can be at all hours of the night, depending on the time zone!


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