Luck o’ the Irish

By Rich Warren

On the windswept west coast of Ireland, the tiny town of Dingle is one of the Emerald Isle’s most popular destinations with its rugged scenery, world-class music, and good eats.

It’s also an excellent place to sample liquid libations. More than a score of typical Irish pubs and other attractions, including a brewery and distillery, are clustered within a few short blocks.

Be forewarned: Many of Dingle’s pubs are more than just a place to sample Irish lagers, stouts, and whiskeys. Two of the most famous are cases in point. Dick Mack’s Pub, open since 1899, doubles as a leather shop, and it also recently opened its own brewhouse. Foxy John’s is half pub and half hardware store. Most nights Irish musicians plant themselves among the bins of nuts and bolts and perform their ballads on traditional instruments. In fact, the finest of Irish music can be heard in Dingle’s pubs seven nights a week.

For those looking for traditional Irish pub grub, the Dingle Pub serves breakfast (and more) all day long. Nearby, catch a bite at J. Curran’s Shop Bar, which is very popular with the locals and one of the most picturesque of Dingle’s pubs, complete with three “snugs,” secluded alcoves where Irish women once enjoyed their pints in privacy.

And even though it’s a bit removed from the city center, the Dingle Distillery is a must. Only two casks of fine Irish whiskey are produced each day at this artisanal facility, but samples of its other offerings — vodka and gin made with local botanicals such as heather, bog myrtle and rowan berry — are offered at the end of the tour. Expect a thorough and tasty introduction to Irish whiskey and its production.

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