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“History, Music and Good Craic”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of O'Donoghue's Bar

O'Donoghue's Bar
Ranked #16 of 287 Nightlife in Dublin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Dublin's most popular pub, known for its great live music.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
65 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“History, Music and Good Craic”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2012

I visited O'Donoghue's several times in late September 2012. The main entry leads to the original pub, where the Dubliners entertained and gained fame through countless traditional music "sessions" in the 20th century. Huge portraits of the original Dubliners stare down over the area where their sessions delighted so many for so long. Opposite, you find the many other faces that appeared with them in various configurations over those same decades. Past the session area, you find the bar - ageless, classic and gorgeous, as are most bars in good Irish pubs. Beyond, you find a narrow passage full of additional seating, through which you can almost traverse when the place is crowded.. if you are a hurdler. Often, a second traditional music session is happening back there as well! As it happens, though, everyone's a pal in the pub and nobody minds getting out of your way if you're headed through the back exit.

The back exit leads to an awning covered open air passage between the old pub and their newer acquisition on the other side. Smokers and younger pubgoers tend to populate that area, in which heat lamps blaze on chilly nights to warm the patrons, large barrel casks are often used as bistro tables, and rain is diverted from the heads of the revelers.

On the far side of the passage (in Chicago we call them gangways or alleys), double doors admit you to the new, multi-sectioned portion of the property, with more bars, private-party areas and the better restrooms. All three sections open out to Merrion Row, so it isn't necessary to snake your way through to your desired third of the place from the main door.

The staff takes good care of their patrons and everyone seems to treat each other well. All my Guinness pints were properly drawn, but they'll make other drinks just as you like them, also. Prices were quite comparable to other pubs i visited last week, and the atmos is friendly. Patrons range to all ages - parents can bring their children into pubs up until probably 9-10 pm - I'm not sure of the specifics for that custom. I met patrons from various countries and all over Ireland. The traditional music runs from ballads to reels to jigs to fighting songs to drinking songs to love songs to.. well, it's trad. It's everything. Performers vary from evening to evening, but the quality is always top notch.

The place gets good and crowded on weekends, but if you can stand the squeezing-through when you have to move through the place, you're grand. Otherwise, hit O'Donoghue's on a weeknight and enjoy the relatively more spacious atmos. It's great craic and worth the visit.

Visited September 2012
Thank RBerkowitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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315 reviews from our community

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Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
53 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Food and atmosphere”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2012

We had dinner and beer and it was great. The people who served us were friendly and nice. Atmosphere was great. Loved everything.

Visited June 2012
Thank Rachel C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
376 reviews
163 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 151 helpful votes
“musical triumph”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2012

Wiled away two nights here listening to the music. it was very busy both nights and had standing room only. The musicians seem to be locals who turn up because they enjoy playing the music. It does not feel that this is done for the tourists but for their own entertainment and is all the better for that. the music varied depending on the musicians who were there and the instruments they played. I would have liked to have heard more singing but really enjoyed the music. Unfortunately unless you can get close to the corner where they play, it is impossible to hear them over the people talking.

Visited August 2012
Thank filligirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterford, Ireland
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Great spot for Irish Trad music....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2012

The pub made famous as the favored drinking den of the legendary Dubliners. Went in at around 8pm on a Thursday evening. The previous place we were in was almost empty so we expected this to be the same. Wrong. Barely room to stand, let alone sit! 3 deep at the counter. This only worsened as the night went on. To say this place is popular is an understatement!

After finally commandeering two stools from departing patrons, we managed to take the place in. The pub is a shrine to the band. The walls are adorned with photos, sketches and newspaper clippings. A common sight is watching star struck tourists walking in and gazing in bemusement! The Guinness, as you'd expect is perfect.

At around 9pm, a group of musicians walked in and turfed some customers out of the band area. They were good but were almost drowned out by the noise of chatter! It was getting unbearably full at around 10 so we departed. But we were glad to have experienced it anyway. We passed the pub on the way back to the hotel at around 11.30 and people were actually standing out on the street!

Visited August 2012
Thank Spartan68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
126 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“You NEED to go here.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2012

I asked an intoxicated Irish man in Malahide about the best pubs in Dublin. He told me to head to Baggot Street; very wise man. We had a great time at O'Donaghue's! Place was packed on a THURSDAY night. Great live music and excellent service. It was almost like the bartender could sense that I was about to come back to the bar to order another Guinness, he was always there ready with another pint, good man. Didn't realize how big the place really was until about halfway through my stay here when I walked outside and saw that there was an entire other bar area right next door. No music there though, but nice chill atmosphere and easy bar access. Can't wait to go back.

Visited August 2012
Thank DannyZ24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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