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Recently I found myself struck by a thought as I wandered in amongst the vibrancy and boisterousness of the beloved melting pot of ethnicity and street traders that is Moore Street. In the lead up to this I was pondering a subject far from the reality that surrounded me in the market of Moore St. – English Peerage. The Peerage of England, for the purpose of this article, is something we’d describe as an umbrella term for all of the silly bollock-talk regarding dukes, barons, viscounts and other such made up titles that happen to get bandied about by our nearest neighbours to the east. And the reason as to why I’d been thinking this deeply about such a thing in public was the same reason as always – the pub!

The Duke: Duke Street.

The Duke on Duke Street, it seems was named after some aul codger named Charles FitzRoy who in addition to being the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was also the Second Duke of Grafton. His father – Henry, First Duke of Grafton was married to a Countess and was also an illegitimate child of King Charles II and Duchess Barbara Villiers.

It was in the middle of trying to make sense of all this guillotine-worthy convoluted nonsense, I found my pattern of thought interrupted by a hardy street trader who was noisily speaking to a friend whom she hadn’t seen in a while. Filling her friend in with all of the latest goss, she spoke seamlessly as she navigated her words through the complicated array of extended family and friends.

“Well, ye know Patrick, from Domnick Street dont’che? Ah, ye do – Wacker they use’ ta call ‘im, he looked after the boxing up in Sherrifer. Well, he’s only after going and getting some youngone from Cabra up the pole. And ye won’t believe who she’s related to!? Only Biddy Reilly from Mountjoy – you know yer one Biddy – Bridget! Ah, ye do!”

It struck me there and then that these street traders, with their inherent skills for navigating complex family lineages, would be perfect candidates for teaching people all about that English peerage craic. So let’s just remember that if all these greedy developers do manage to knock Moore Street and make them redundant. They’ll have a job over in Windsor, no bother to them.

So anyway, The Duke. It seems if you stand on Grafton Street blindfolded and throw a coin over your shoulder that you’ll likely hit a pub with ties to numerable writers of International regard. I’m even beginning to feel like I’m repeating myself in some of these write-ups going on about various pubs’ ties to writers, but The Duke is yet another public house which lays claim to having sheltered the likes of George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O Brien and is another renowned Dublin Literary Pub. So renowned in fact that it is the starting point for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. Which we really must get around to doing one day!

The interior is cosy, and remarkably so given the expanse of the pub. Wooden floors and carpet make up the flooring. Traditional seating abounds and there are even open fires! The lighting tends to be spot on and the colours are gentle too – all in all, it’s a boozer that ticks all the right boxes for us, aesthetically speaking.

The pint tends to be decent, nothing to be dreamt about but nothing to inspire any nightmares either. Alike most neighbouring watering holes, you’ll want a Duke’s wage to be drinking comfortably in here. We last paid €5.40 for a jar which is just too much if you ask me.

But price concerns aside, you can’t mistake the importance of a boozer like this which has stood since 1822 and houses an interior mostly unchanged since the 1890s. How lucky we are to live in a city containing such historical premises while having none of the nonsense for which they’re named after.

It’s probably fair enough on our part to assume that the word ‘hut’, when considered by all those included in the English-speaking world, will elicit images of rudimentary structures of mud, straw and/or bamboo in the mind’s eye of most. But today, ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you about a tiny subset of that aforementioned lingual population who, upon hearing the word ‘hut’, will come to think not of favelas or muddy Maasai camps – but will instead conjure up the thought of craic and creamy pints amidst perfectly retained Victorian grandeur. Yes, that’s right – ask anybody of a certain vintage upon the streets of Phibsborough what the word ‘hut’ means to them and they will almost certainly set out immediately to put you in the know about Phibsborough’s most beloved pub – The Hut.

The Hut: Phibsborough Road.

Having spent a worthwhile thirty-five minutes devouring all information that Google will provide us with on this pub it seems only appropriate that we follow suit from those who have penned their own thoughts on The Hut before us by first mentioning the name. Some say that it’s derived from hut-like structures which once provided shelter for the inhabitants of Phibsborough. Others (namely those allied to the local LOI team – Bohemians) say the name is taken from hut-like dressing rooms which used to be in situ in nearby ground, Dalymount Park. Us, we happen to think the name could be rooted in Latin given that the word ‘tavern’ is derived from the Latin word ‘taberna’ which translates to, yep you guessed it, ‘hut’.

Regardless of the provenance of the pub’s name, there is certainly no ambiguity to be encountered when it comes to its standing as one of the remaining authentic Victorian Dublin Pubs. A longer room than its well-kept façade might suggest, it ticks all the boxes regarding features of such pubs from that period – wooden dividers and partitions, stone and wooden bar-tops, gas lamps, grocer’s drawers, and my personal favourite – cask-heads incorporated into the structure of the bar – all of them well-kept and authentic; affording the pub ample parity with any of the more central and well-known Victorian watering holes dotted around the capital.

We managed to collectively get up to Phibsborough for a pint over the last few months with the full DublinByPub contingent in tow. Arriving into The Hut a few hours following nightfall (and with about 4 or 5 pints sunk too) we, or should I say our dark-adjusted and somewhat intemperate eyes, immediately found our one and only complaint with the place – the brightness. It’s needlessly bright in the evening. We wondered if it was a safety feature – one to give the cohort of Mountjoy screws, who supposedly drink in the pub, every opportunity to spot a potential aggrieved former inmate.

Seeking refuge in the more softly illuminated environs of the snug we sat down to three pints of plain and remarked on how expansive the carpeted room was. Possibly the largest snug in Dublin, we wondered? The pint itself I remember as being the best of the immediate locality – well-poured and served through the hatch of the snug it was enjoyed by all around the table with no complaint about taste or about price, coming in south of a fiver. Happy drinkers all around.

We might, if we could, go back to those thirty-five minutes of research we mentioned earlier. It was in an Irish Times article written on the subject of The Hut some years back that we happened upon an interesting quote from one of the pub’s owners – Joe Mohan. In it, he describes his position as owner of the pub, as being one which makes him responsible to ‘just mind the place’. This quote resonated with us for a few reasons, but mainly due to the fact that it was reminiscent of a sort of caretaker sentiment that we’d heard over and over again from various barmen and pub owners alike. These are people who are at the helm of the likes of The Gravedigger’s, The Swan, Fallon’s, The Palace, The Long Hall… we could go on. Do you reckon that it may just be coincidence that all of these pubs just so happen to be up there with the most renowned and regarded in all of Dublin? Because we certainly don’t!

If you happen to wind up upon the streets of Phibsborough and you find that that persistent thirst just won’t relent, we can only suggest that you drop into John and see how good a job he’s doing of minding The Hut. Maybe even ask him to dim the lights a bit for us too, will ye?

Nice one!

What do Robbie Keane, Bill Clinton and Daniel O Donnell have in common? Now there’s a question you never thought you’d ever hear, and a question we never thought we’d ever ask. It’s not that Bill had sweet first touch when he played five-a-side on the lawn of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave – no, no. And we’re pretty certain that you won’t find Keano in any brass section warming up to the dulcet tones of Baker St. Nor will you find Bill Clinton going out of his way to attract older wom….. actually, never mind.

Cassidy’s: Camden St.

Well if any of you out there thought that Cassidy’s of Camden Street was the particular commonality between the three distinguished figures aforementioned, you would be right because this pub happens to be one which at one time or another purveyed a pint to each of the three lads.

The perfect example of a deceivingly large boozer, this one has to be up there with one of the longest pubs in the city. The pub is popular with Donegal natives and we have it on good authority that it’s managed by wee Daniel’s brother too. Exuding a comfortable vibe that must be difficult to maintain in such an expansive space – Cassidy’s is a Victorian pub which characterised with all the usual features one would expect of a place described as such. Dark wood and brass fittings serve as a welcome aesthetic in the midst of part of town that seems to become trendier by the day.

The pint, we usually find as being up to scratch here and we’ve certainly no recollections of a bad one ever being put on front of us on any visit. Upon our last visit we were charged an even fiver for the dark and creamy pleasure, but use that as a rough guide only – we’re fast approaching the year anniversary of that visit at this rate.

Regrettably we don’t haven’t spent half as much time as we’d have liked to in this pub over the years. We’ll definitely be making sure to remedy that in the near future.

It was one of them poxy November evenings where the depression onset from daylight savings’ early darkness had begun to set in. The rain was pissing out of the heavens and train was rammed. A pint was in order. As I drew closer to town I fumbled amongst the crush to retrieve my phone and made a call to Pintman №2, inquiring after the progress he himself was making into town. “Still in poxy work!” says he. “Bollix to that” says I.” Grab a spot somewhere and I’ll follow ya in sure” says he. “Grand” says I.

The Swan: Aungier St.

So after disembarking I wander up Westland Row and head toward the Grafton St. area. A quick bit of sustenance and I’m on the look out for a pub only to make the unfortunate realisation that everywhere is jammed with the only thing worse than the Christmas party crowd: The early Christmas party crowd. All of them carefully gowned in their illuminated woolly jumpers and fluffy red hats.

In the midst of my frantic dash around the South City Centre trying to find any boozer with a spare spot and a lingering degree of cosiness, I find myself pushing ever so further out of the city. And then as I wander around by the back of the College of Surgeons, it comes to me. The Swan! Of course! Up to the swan I hastily traipse to find the place reasonable populated and with enough spare seats to lighten my mood. No sooner have I placed my sopping coat on a high stool do I have a good pint of plain in my hand and all is okay once again.

The Swan as it turned out was the best possible pub to arrive into from a rainy November night. Another Victorian gem with all the furniture and fixings one should expect from a Victorian spot. A marble bar runs the length and is nicely complimented by the mosaic tiling on the floor. Another essential visit for seekers of authentic historic Dublin Pubs.

Content again I make another phonecall to Pintman №2 who is less than impressed having found himself on a stationary train. “Why is it stuck?” says I. “There’s a swan on the tracks at Landsdowne” says he. “Jaysis” says I. “Where did ye settle in the end” says he. “The Swan” says I. “Fuck off” says he.