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In any city worth visiting, there is an Irish pub. London, Paris, Tokyo: all have their very own Irish pubs. Even Vatican City probably has its own little Irish pub, hidden away in an obscure back alley, where the Pope heads for a pint of Guinness after a long day of having a little wave on a balcony.*
Since the pandemic, the island has been deprived of its own Irish pub, after Brendan O’Donnells (O’Donnell’s to most of us- the pub only gets called its full name if it’s in trouble with its mother) never opened after the pandemic. After 9 months of no craic, punters can rejoice at the reopening of O’Donnell’s on the 10th December. The pub has had a bit of a refresh, but the old Gaelic charm will still be there. Think classic O’Donnell’s, but with a polish.
While there are a load of brilliant pubs on the island, O’Donnell’s USP is that it is the spiritual home to the island’s Irish community. While our hols might be off the cards this year, enter O’Donnells, order a Guinness or a Jameson (or, ideally, both) and be transported to our favourite adjacent isle. And the Guinness is, fair play to them, properly poured- none of the 2 inches of foam sh*te you get in the adjacent isle to the east.
While the decor may help contribute to the Irishness of the place, it’s the Irish hospitality that really gives O’Donnell’s its famous charm. There is also, of course, so much craic within the pub that I suspect when The Dubliners wrote the greatest song of all time, Craic was 90 in the Isle of Man, they were specifically thinking about O’Donnells.
Look, I know I’ve managed 3 paragraphs without mentioning everyone’s least favourite c-word (corona), but bare with. It was when the Irish started saying ‘lads, might be risky to head out for Paddy’s day’ when we really realised that this ‘rona thing was serious. Nothing is a marker that sh*t has hit the fan like the Irish deciding not to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year. While 2020 Paddy’s day was a more subdued affair, 2021 will more than make up for it. What could be better than being in an Irish pub, one of those big novelty Guinness hats on, singing until your lungs give out? While a Guinness hangover may be brutal, it’s one that is absolutely worth a Sunday with your head in the loo for.
Before Paddy’s day there is, obviously, Christmas. And what a gift it is to be given back our beloved Irish pub, one of the few places we know that will definitely be playing Fairytale of New York.
*Seven years of Catholic school means I have permission to make jokes about the Pope.