In Dublin’s Fair City, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on … some of the best bars known to man.
Well known of course for the famous song Molly Malone but of course probably better known as a tourist mecca where Craic, Ceol (Music) and Drink mix together to give an experience that is hard to beat. With our Quiet Man brand being sold to the trade in Dublin through our friends at Ally Alpine’s Celtic Whiskey Shop in Dawson street, I spent some hours walking the beat of Dublin City Centre with the local rep Colum O Conner, to see where our brand has taken root. Lovely bars and serious competition but here I pass on some recommendations from the host of potential runners.
First up was just next door to the Celtic Whiskey Shop, 37 Dawson Street is the name of the place and the stylish and luxurious whiskey bar at the back of the grand building is what you are looking for. Funky and cool with a baby grand piano on display, the Quiet Man was right at home in the dimly lit space which was built for those with relaxation uppermost on their minds. Sister bar of super cool House Dublin and House Belfast where “Bar Czar” Michael Stewart punts the Quiet Man for his brother in law! It seemed a pity to stroll back into the midday sun (boiling for us Irish at 28c%) but we had bars to see, orders to take and people to meet.
The Palace Bar at the entrance to Temple Bar is my own favourite bar in Dublin bar none. Owner Willie welcomed us and the Quiet Man felt right at home among the whiskies that include a single malt that is specially bottled for the bar. Established in 1823 the bar oozes Victoriana and was and is a literary hostelry made famous in the 40s and 50s by R M (Bertie) Smylie editor of the Irish Times. The Fourth estate where encouraged to make the bar their social home and Newsmen, Correspondents and Compositors of the cities three daily newspapers were only too happy to oblige.
Hens, Stags, tourists and Dubs alike file past and into the famous Temple Bar and we follow the huge rush to make sure that the Quiet Man plinth has arrived – over the heads of the punters we can see its there behind the bar so I made a promise to come back later in the day for a wee Quiet One if the crowds aren’t just as crazy as they are at 3pm! Onwards to Darkey Kelly’s, 19 Fishamble Street and a visit to the whiskey bar that has 100 whiskies on the list and Raymond Chandlers words over the door “There is no bad Whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others” Words of wisdom. We talk to the manager about getting the Quiet Man onto the tasting trays – 3 different whiskies at a price is definitely where you want to be. Fierce competition from across the Island but I have a good feeling the Quiet Man will hold its own here.
Over to the beautiful Lincoln’s Inn at 19 Lincoln Place. In a city of famous pubs this one is up there – in 1904 one of the chambermaids in what was then part of Finns Hotel set eyes on, romanced and eventually married this certain fellow who frequented the bar. Nora Barnacle was the woman’s name and play write James Joyce was the man – a good reason why the bar is an elegant refuelling stop for Joycean walking tours. I bump into a group from Boston who fall in love with the dark wood panels, antique frames and gold fixtures of the bar – I’m happy to stand them a round of the Quiet Man on the rocks with a reminder to look out for the brand in “Southy” when they get home.
Last stop Bar Rua – epitomises the “Craic and the Ceol” with both in full swing as we enter. Bar manager too busy to talk business as he is doing the business pouring pints & half- un’s, but he assures us our whiskey newly arrived is holding its own which is good to hear. Bar Rua translates as Red Bar and is apparently named or inspired by the bars love of red heads – you can see it on the art on the walls and the colour of the hair on the staff! Not kidding! The Music is mighty and Colm and I have our first of the day – thirsty work walking those sunny streets of Dublin and trying to remember that its work not play we are about! Slainte!!