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Republic of Ireland: A Pub-Crawl

Dublin has a collection of some of the world's best pubs, tucked away on side streets, quietly minding their own business. James Joyce theorized that it was impossible to walk across the city without passing one, and you'd be hard-pressed to do it today. Many of these places have been offering pints of ale to weary travelers for centuries, so touring them is a refreshing way to look at Dublin's historic inns. In a few hours of pub-hopping you can take in a lot of city sights, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to meet (and drink with) locals on their home turf. Start in the afternoon and take your time. Make it a relaxing walking tour of central Dublin, stopping for drinks and conversation. Who knows who you'll meet along the way?

Pub 1: Doheny and Nesbitt

Long popular with politicians, journalists, and (oddly) economists, this pub makes a great start to any stout-based tour of Dublin. Founded in 1850, it's just around the corner from the government buildings. It's said that the seeds of Ireland's current economic success were planted here, where a band of politicians, civil servants, and economists regularly met and drank in the 1980s. Journalists dubbed them "the Doheny and Nesbitt School of Economics." 5 Lower Baggot St., Dublin 2.

Pub 2: Grogan's Castle Lounge

With its old, wood-paneled walls lined with a rag-tag collection of art, this old pub is known as one of the city's friendlier joints. It's a favorite with writers and journalists, so it's a great place to eavesdrop on political gossip or hear the latest jokes. Open a newspaper, sit conspicuously near the bar, order a pint of Guinness, and somebody will surely soon come ask your opinion about something. 15 William St. South, Dublin 2.

Pub 3: The Long Hall

Many locals believe this is the city's most handsome pub, and it's easy to see why. Its rich ceiling of red oak, and the titular long bar stretching the length of the building, make it a uniquely atmospheric place in which to sip a pint. The regulars are a mixed group of local professionals and tourists, and the bar staff are friendly. The clock behind the bar mysteriously promising "Correct Time" can be easily ignored, as many a visitor has come for a quick pint but stayed for hours. 51 S. Great George's St., Dublin 2.

Pub 4: McDaid's

Just off Grafton Street, McDaid's is one of those rare establishments -- able to be all things to all people. Founded in 1779, it's a charming old pub with a long literary history. It was the writer Brendan Behan's favorite pub, and its fame still brings in crowds of tourists, but that doesn't stop the locals from coming, and the colorful mix of Irish regulars and wide-eyed tourists looking for an authentic experience makes for a lively evening. It's packed to the rafters every night, so it's a good thing you've come here late in the afternoon. 3 Harry St., off Grafton St., Dublin 2.

Pub 5: The Porterhouse

After all that pub-crawling, it's time to put some food in your stomach. The Porterhouse is a microbrewery and specializes in traditional Irish pub food, so this is just the place. You can have a hearty plate of sausages and mash, or a big bowl of Irish stew, and a small half-pint (known just as a "half") of one of their seasonal tasty ales. This is a big, modern pub, with wood floors and lots of tables, so you're likely to get a seat, and you can sit and think about where to go next while filling your stomach with some affordable, quality pub food. 16-18 Parliament St., Dublin 2.

Pub 6: O'Neill's

If you've made it this far on your epic pub-crawl, then you deserve to finish your night in O'Neill's. This big, blowsy, barn of a pub is a lively place to spend an evening. Outside it's a grand, historic Victorian building, inside it's a big, busy place with a lively atmosphere. Bands play most nights, so it's a good place to hear traditional and modern Irish music. It has a band of fiercely loyal regulars who will talk your ear off if you let them. It's a great place to sit back and people-watch into the small hours. But it's certainly not a relaxing place. 2 Suffolk St., Dublin 2.

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