The Lord Edward: Christchurch Place.

‘Ah there’s Barney now’ exclaimed a half drunk local sitting at the bar of The Lord Edward on a Saturday afternoon. Having heard the statement our attention was drawn to a man making his way toward the front door of the pub – the man, who was wearing a hoody coloured in a striking shade of magenta similar to that worn by the children’s television dinosaur, responded with an aggressive cluelessness – ‘What the fuck are yis on about? Barney?’

‘Never you mind Barney’, responded another of the locals as his friend began in a chorus of ‘I Love You, You Love Me’. Instinctively the rest of the men gathered around the bar, ourselves included, joined in with the singalong. At this point the penny finally dropped for Barney – ‘Ah fuck de lotta yis’ he responded with some whimsy – a retort which was received with more laughter. Myself and Pintman №2, being in the closest proximity to Barney joined in on the laughter too – this prompted him to change his disposition from that of a whimsical one to an aggressive seriousness delivered with a brand of abruptness that would easily befit Joe Pesci. Enquiring as to what the fuck me and Pintman №2 were laughing at, Barney left just enough momentary discomfort before relaxing us with his return to whimsy once again. We resumed our laughter as he finally exited for his smoke and having remarked amongst ourselves that people would pay good money to see such a scene in The Abbey or The Gate, we continued laughing well beyond the time the man had returned.

This is The Lord Edward! Our most beloved Dublin watering hole – sitting across from Christchurch Cathedral in the heart of Dublin’s historical Viking quarter, we would argue that this is one of the last great unspoilt Dublin Boozers. Now when we say spoilt, we don’t mean destroyed – but it’s fair to say that a pub or two around town can be described as victims of their own popularity when peak times roll around. Here in The Lord Edward there are no t-shirts for sale behind the bar and the pint (which is as good, if not better, when compared to the likes of your Mulligans and your Palaces) is modestly priced, containing no added popularity tax.

You can find a good variation of demographics in here on most days and have all sorts of experiences too. Given this and the multifaceted nature of the man whose name it bears I’d tend to argue that this is a well named pub. Only recently did my curiosity pique to such a level that I actually set about finding out exactly who Lord Edward was and let me tell you – Lord Eddy Fitzgerald was some boyo for one boyo! Born into a well ranked family, he would go on to undertake a few occupations during his lifetime and earn himself the titles of soldier, explorer, parliamentarian and ultimately a revolutionary aligned with the United Irishmen in the late 1700s. A sound aul skin altogether.

The pub’s overall look is afforded by dark wood and a regal shade of green which covers some of the walls and the linoleum and carpet flooring – the lino sits to the front of the pub and the carpet being further in. Wooden dividers mark defined sections from one another and a horseshoe bar allows the staff to serve the entire bar with relative ease. The lads behind the bar themselves are about as sound as the bells that chime across the road in the cathedral – having never given us a moment’s grief or nark, maybe even when it might have been warranted after a skinful.

We had a good moment’s luck when we were in last summer. A good 12 or so of us had gathered for a few scoops with Pintman №3 who had repatriated for a few days to attend a wedding. In the midst of the craic going well the gang had begun indulging in one of their favourite pastimes, one which prior experience told us was ok in this boozer – taking me to task on my dress.

Now it may not have shone through on DublinByPub heretofore but as it turns out I’m not exactly the fashion conscious type. Given this, and the fact that I consider the act of shopping for clothes to be a form of torture that shares exclusive parity with waterboarding – I tend to end up donning some hastily chosen getups that don’t exactly break the bank.

So this particular evening the company I was keeping were deconstructing my latest t-shirt which was of the type that can be bought for €3 in a well-known budget clothes shop. The shirt followed the usual design specification set out by this company and depicted a foreign placename and an object – in this case they being Knoxville and a motorcycle. In the course of this ridicule I allowed my gaze to wander and became aware of a middle aged couple who were peering through the window and looking directly at me. Seeing an opportunity for a change of subject, I decided to beckon them in to pub with a hand gesture – an offer they immediately accepted.

Having entered the pub they moved swiftly toward our table capturing the full attention of the 12 people sat around it in the process. The woman, completely unfazed by all this, stood immediately beside me and with her broad American accent loudly enquired “What’s the deal with this Knoxville t-shirt?” Of course this particular question, at this particular time warranted laughter from everyone at the table except me, so loud was this laughter that I’d say it was heard by the poor creatures hauled up in the crypt of Christchurch across the road.

After things settled and I’d explained the concept of ‘Thanx hun, Penney’s’ to our two new pals from Knoxville, Pintman №3 insisted they settle in for a few jars – which they did. Thereafter followed a great few hours – having the chats and knocking the craic out of visitors to the city is always good fun, even more so when one of them decides to order a dozen Jemmys for the table as a final gesture before disappearing away into the night.

There wasn’t a peep out of the table about anyone’s t-shirt when sixty quid’s worth of Jameson was being thrown down the collective hatch. And when the topic of my clothing does manage to rear its ugly head I do like to remind my so-called friends how my €3 t-shirt paid for itself a literal 20 times over that night in the hope that it may quell the jeers and the slags – it doesn’t.

We couldn’t really love this pub any more if we tried. Be sure to nip in for a pint and try it out for yourself soon.

Irish Tatler Man

We recently teamed up with Irish Tatler Men and are delighted to announce that they’ve allowed us some space in their fantastic magazine to wax lyrical about the pubs of the capital. We’ve written a few words on The Piper’s Corner for their current (Spring) edition.

 

The latest edition (as seen above) is out now and we’d love for you to pick it up and let us know what you think about Dublin By Pub’s first non-digital post.

Ryan’s: Store St.

I suppose it was always only a matter of time until this page became a soapbox for personal grievances, and I’m afraid on this occasion there’s a particular one that needs to be aired. This grievance relates to a phenomenon whereby aspects of a particular city which had heretofore been practically invisible, become prominently noticeable to a person – only after this person has set about photographing the exterior of the pubs of said city.

Road signs! The poxy things are everywhere, as someone who has yet to master the art of driving – it near on perplexes me as to how drivers navigate the plethora of cryptic warnings atop poles littered across the streets of the city. But that’s not the problem here: my particular grievance relates to when Dublin City Council erect these signs in an apparently deliberate attempt destroy an otherwise acceptable vista of a shop front by obscuring the name of the premises

Now I suppose a skilled photographer could manage a far better image of Ryan’s and we might have considered obtaining a better angle by spending a night in Store St. Garda station – which faces the pub, or even photo-shopping the sign out. But DublinByPub is a social history project after all, so we may as well leave it in for posterity’s sake. Oh and while I’m on the topic of Dublin City Council can I please make my annual appeal to have the bird shite washed off the top of Daniel O Connell’s head before the start of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, thanks.

Now, on to Ryan’s! Ryan’s which was relatively recently trading as Robert Reade’s is nicely tucked away in a bit of a nodal point as far as public transport goes. Sitting beneath rail tracks and a mere seconds from Busáras the pub is far more expansive than its exterior would suggest. With much of its look given by wooden tones, Ryan’s wouldn’t be amiss as a bar off shooting from Trinity College’s long library.

Wooden floors, ceilings, veneer and bar all give the pub a cosy feel. A fireplace sits toward the front of the room on the right, whereas the left opens up to accommodate the considerable staircase which is also made from wood and given structure with black wrought iron. The bar runs for a good ten plus feet and would leave no hassle for someone looking to nudge in to get served. Lower seating sits along the windows on the left of the pub and dividers break the span at a few increments. Another door three quarters of the way down the pub allows a more discreet entrance or egress and the space thereafter opens up somewhat and affords the patrons a higher seating alternative.

The pint here has always been drank without any hesitation and hasn’t warranted any commentary from us whenever we were in. We’ve always found the staff to be a sound lot too and they only need ask and we’ll see what we can do to that road sign with an angle grinder.

Ryan’s is a fine boozer – It’s hard to imagine why anyone would rather sit in the drab surroundings of Busáras waiting on a bus when this little gem is around the corner. Be sure to give it a go whenever you’re nearby next.

Tom Kennedy’s: Thomas St.

Do you ever find that in our modern existence, where our surroundings are becoming more and more homogenised in the pursuit of commercialisation that you can lose touch with things of substance? – Things like history and culture! As you take a wander up Thomas St. and witness the encroaching trends of burrito and donut shops that pop up in identical guises to their sister outlets it can become all too easy to forget just how old Dublin actually is.

 

Thankfully there are things that can reconnect us to our past, these can come in the guise of a grandmother shouting about cheap detergent on her metal stall, or for us they can come in the form of reading that a pub on this same street – namely Tom Kennedy’s, is one that is contained within a building that has had a presence upon Thomas Street since somewhere in or around the 1750s, an attribute that is put into context with ease when you consider that The Yanks only declared independence from The Brits in 1776.

It’s said that Wolfe Tone may have been waked here in number 65 Thomas St, and if there’s any truth in that, it could be argued that this building has been accommodating functions for longer than most others in the city because when we arrived into the pub last we were greeted with banners and balloons aplenty denoting not that a revolutionary had been executed, but rather that Jessica was 21.

Walking into this community-warmed local of a summer evening we found ourselves welcomed into the fold without the degree of scrutiny that you might find yourself under in some other shops – as we settled into a few high stools at the front of the bar we couldn’t but be charmed at how the place was abuzz with a warmth that felt akin to something from a Roddy Doyle novel.

A long and narrow pub –it’s one that boasts all the character that a 260 year old should. The seating is mostly cosy – long comfy couches sit you a short distance from the ground in a span that runs parallel to the bar. A handful of high stools sit toward the front of the room ahead of those found at the bar too.

 

The walls leave no uncertainties as to the city within which you are drinking – framed images of all things Dublin are a recurring theme. Panelling coloured in creamy tones make up the upper half of the wall space encountered upon entrance and overall the pub is more brightly lit than is to our preference, but not to a degree that warrants any negative commentary on our part. Opening up toward the back there is a raised section upon which sat a DJ who was blasting numerous ladies of the liberties with contemporary floor fillers as they loaded up on cocktail sausages.

The pint is as is hoped for in these sort of local boozers – having two of the modern Guinness drinker’s most sought after features: creaminess and a price tag south of the fiver mark. We drank a couple confirming the consistency too.

There’s no real negative critique we could offer on Tom Kennedy’s here. We found an old article on a theliberty.ie from 2013 where the owner was expressing concerns about the future of the pub and lamenting the demise of other local ones that were shutting up shop back then. Five years on we can only hope that he sees things a little more optimistically. The craic we had in here last summer would lead us to believe he should.