WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24 — Day 2 of our trip to Dublin started with a fascinating tour of Kilmainham Gaol, which opened in 1796. The prison was closed in the 1920’s before being restored and reopened as a museum in the mid 1980’s. We learned a lot about the struggle for Irish independence and the Irish Civil War. The prison housed all of the leading historical figures of Irish nationalism — and many were executed there. After the sobering but educational visit to the prison, we were ready for lunch…and a beer!
On the recommendation from my co-worker Worby, who travels to Ireland often to see family, we decided to spend the afternoon in Howth, a small seaside village on Dublin Bay. We took the DART train from Connolly station in Dublin city centre, and 20 minutes later we pulled into Howth. After a stroll along the waterfront, we found the Abbey Tavern. Described as one of the oldest pubs in Ireland, Abbey Tavern gave off an authentic old world charm.
Where it’s Located: 28 Abbey Street, Howth, Ireland
When Visited: Afternoon of Wednesday, April 24, 2013
How I Heard About It: We had mentioned to our cab driver from the airport that we planned to explore Howth. He recommended the Abbey Tavern, which confirmed the recommendation in Lonely Planet.
Beer Sampled: Beamish Stout, which is now brewed by Heineken International, but was first brewed in the late 1700’s by the Beamish and Crawford brewery. According to the website, Beamish is brewed using the original Beamish yeast dating back to 1792. That proud brewing heritage is evident by the quality of this Stout. My pints of Beamish were soooo smooth and really paired well with my burger.
Later that afternoon…
After lunch at the Abbey Tavern, we walked back to the train station along the main street, which was lined with shops and pubs. We weren’t in any hurry to get back to Dublin and it was misting, so we ducked into another pub – The Waterside Bar. I had a pint of Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale while watching snooker in this sports bar-like Irish pub. Kilkenny, which dates back to the fourteenth century, is an Irish Red Ale served with a nitrogenated cream head similar to Guinness. No wonder – it is brewed by Guinness.
Our last stop in Howth was the Findlater Lounge. This was no Irish pub – it was a modern bar with a pleasant ambiance where I enjoyed a pint of Smithwick’s Pale Ale. I had seen regular Smithwick’s on tap almost everywhere, but this was the first time I saw the Pale Ale, and I was intrigued. We lingered here, talking to a friendly Polish barmaid about Bulmers, the popular Irish Cider. She poured us a sample, and after tasting it I vowed to stick to Irish beer for the remainder of our trip.
Time to take the train back to Dublin…