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.

Ryan’s: Store St.

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.

Much had been said to me over the years about Cleary’s, it being an old haunt of Michael Collins. More recently to this visit someone told me of their sojourn here and how it contained a level of violence that the big fella himself would be familiar with.

J.& M. Cleary’s – Amiens St.

With this disincentive foremost in my head, I reminded Pintman Nº2 upon our approach that we should harden up. Agreeing, he inspected our attire and whether it was appropriate for a hard inner city boozer. Immediately we agreed that he, being garbed in dirty building-site clobber, fitted the bill perfectly. Me on the other hand – not so much. It would happen to be on this day that I’d decided to premier a Simpsons t-shirt I’d been gifted which was as red as the pub’s signage. We entered with my jacket well zipped and our shoulders thrown back.

Arriving into the bright narrow bar we encountered none of the hostility we’d expected. The length of the pub is segmented with wooden partitions and the long bar is complimented with seating running opposite. Sitting at the bar we ordered two great pints.

After the first sup all of our discussion on the way in was forgotten and my jacket was off, revealing the ridiculous t-shirt. The barman, returning to our end of the bar soon clocked the shirt and issued a much unexpected compliment. He then glanced down to notice Pintman #2’s battered Star Wars keyring on the bar and the two struck up a conversation on the franchise’s recent release. Uninterested, I took a wander around to admire the portraits of Michael Collins which hung proudly on the walls.

Returning, I found the two still immersed in chat which was to be broken when the barman’s phone rang. His ringtone? – A Star Wars Theme, of course. In the interim of the call we’d finished our jar and the barman returned to service. We bade him a farewell as we exited and his retort to us is one I won’t forget.

– Seeya lads. Oh and may the force be with you.

I kept the head down and expedited my exit.

Don’t base opinions on word of mouth! Far from being the hardened inner city ale-house – Cleary’s is a welcoming pub where discussion on intergalactic wars is as welcome as speak on wars of independence.

Recently we heard that Molloy’s, which we thought had closed down, had reopened following a renovation. We were passing by not so long ago and figured we’d drop in to check out the handy work. Truth be told, we hadn’t been in for quite a while – having remembered the bar as a well-weathered rough house that contained a gents which waged a fully-fledged assault on even the most insensitive of olfactory setups.

Molloy’s: Talbot St.>

Having entered Molloy’s of a midweek evening we could gladly report that the only aroma to caress the nostrils was a sweet perfume of timber and varnish. The refurbishment is of the best possible kind; there’s no trendy modern architectural wank going on, the pub has simply been returned to its former glory. The dust is gone, the wood polished and the fixtures glossy once again.

A medium-sized snug sits at the end of the bar which itself is beautifully put together in Victorian style woodwork that frames a clock and mirroring along the back. Large older whiskey mirrors throughout the pub aid to light space effectively. We found it to be a cracking looking pub, and the WC was in a far superior state than I’d remembered it.

Pint wise, everything was spot on – creamy, well-poured and a tulip glass as the vessel. Being thorough I sank a few to verify the first wasn’t a fluke. The staff are a good bunch. Their rapport with the locals heightens the homely atmosphere of the pub and doesn’t at all detract from them competently carrying out their duties. Speaking of bartenders’ duties, one of the less glamourous was to be called upon when a local boozehound, not content with the skinful he’d clearly already consumed attempted an entrance that wasn’t half as discreet as he thought. Taking notice of this, the barwoman was straight out to dispatch the man. After he’d endured a deserved four minutes of the stern sort of rollicking a mother might lay upon a misbehaving five-year-old, the seventy-plus man was out the door. The Barwoman bid him a farewell in a tone wildly contrasting with that she had just thrown him out with and insisted that he mind himself and that she’d see him tomorrow.

Molloy’s is back on the map! We’ll definitely be back in soon. Make sure you are too.