Last week, a group of friends and I decided to have our own literary pub crawl, if you consider two pubs a “pub crawl.” In our defense, we were a bit pressed for time since we had to meet up with the rest of our class at the Gaiety Theatre later that night. Our unofficial literary pub crawl began at The Palace Bar, which is just a minute walk from Trinity College. My homestay is an hour away from Dublin by bus (on a good day), so my roommate, Abby, and I had to leave by 2:30pm if we wanted to make it to The Palace by 4pm.
Even for 3:30pm on a Tuesday, Dublin seemed livelier than ever. On our walk from the bus stop, Abby and I passed a group of people singing in the streets and we may, or may not, have been in the background of a random woman’s TikTok. We finally met up with our friends at The Palace which, sadly, did not have my beloved Orchard Thieves cider so I settled on a Rockshore. We sat at the back room where the tables were tightly packed together and the walls were lined with paintings and old photographs of Irish authors. Across from where I sat, three large portraits of some of Ireland’s literary greats stared me down. My limited knowledge of Irish authors meant that I could only name one of them: Seamus Heaney. The reason that The Palace is filled with literary décor is because it was a popular place for many authors, like Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh (as I later found out), to socialize and drink. Ideas and copious pints of Guinness flowed in the back room of The Palace.
After spending some time at The Palace, we walked five minutes through Grafton Street to the final stop on our pub crawl: Neary’s. At Neary’s, we enjoyed more cider and some dinner, and I discovered a new cider: Kopparberg (specifically the strawberry and lime flavor), which still doesn’t hold a candle to Orchard Thieves. While Neary’s wasn’t overflowing with literary paraphernalia like The Palace, it still held as much history. It’s a UNESCO Literature Bar and located around the corner from the Gaiety, making it popular with actors and Brendan Behan. It was then that I started to notice a common thread between The Palace and Neary’s, and it was Behan. Throughout his career, Behan struggled with alcoholism and described himself as, “a drinker with writing problems.” On the last pub crawl, I was told that Behan often made a drunken spectacle of himself.
I don’t want to end this post on a bleak note, so I’ll end it with a rather cheesy one. Our mini excursion was filled with plenty of laughs and, of course, plenty of drinks. With only a week left in Ireland, I’ve grown to appreciate these moments of togetherness and the opportunity to buff up on some literary knowledge (I’ll be insufferable when I come home).
Until next time,