Dublin’s top literary pubs

Dublin city has long been the centre of the literary world in Ireland with poets, authors, playwrights, dreamers and schemers all contributing to a melting pot of literary richness.

Dublin holds a Unesco City of Literature title and no less than 4 Nobel Prize Winners have come from this cultural city.

Along your literary tour of Dublin’s unique museums and libraries (the Book of Kells at Trinity College is well worth a look, along with the Long Room, be sure to get there early – there will be queues) you will get the chance to stop off at some of Dublin’s most famous pubs.

Toners Pub, Dublin

Toners Pub, Dublin

Literary Pub crawl in Dublin City

If the walls of Dublin pubs could talk they would tell some tales! Often featured in some of the literary works of those who frequent them, you may well be sitting on the stool of the literary great whose story brought you to the pub in the first place.

This ease of connection between culture and real life will make it all the easier for you to relax and pull up a stool and be part of the rest of the story.

Brazen Head Pub

This is one of Dublin’s most ancient pubs claiming to be built in 1198 and if you are here for a drink or two you will no doubt be told that Robin Hood once crossed the threshold here. It was also a favourite of Jonathan Swift the author of Gulliver’s Travels who was also Dean of Christchurch Cathedral which is within stumbling distance.


This little literary pub boasts cosy snugs which can be claimed if you get here early enough! Self-described ‘drinker with a writing problem’ Brendan Behan made this his local in the 1950’s. A must see on your literary pub crawl!

Oliver St John Gogarty

Patrick Kavanagh and comic genius Flann O’Brien were known to drink here but the draw for this pub is that it was named for the poet and author Oliver St John Gogarty. This centrally located bar in the popular Temple Bar district holds almost constant music sessions, so you won’t be short of entertainment!

Palace Bar

If we could pick one to go to on this list it would be the pub that tops the list of literary pubs in Dublin. This pre-Victorian bar on the busy Fleet Street is known for its atmosphere and literary greats who have graced its doors since 1843! Writers have included Flann O’Brien, Brendan Behan and Paddy Kavanagh.

Palace Bar, Dublin

Palace Bar, Dublin

Throughout the 30’s and 40’s this pub was the unofficial HQ for Robert M Smyllie who was the editor of the Irish Times newspaper. He once held literary gatherings here which justify the Lamppost tribute outside the pub which was erected for its most famous literary greats.

Davy Byrne’s

James Joyce wrote about many things in his books based in Dublin but one thing he couldn’t seem to leave out was a pub!

“He entered Davy Byrnes. Moral Pub. He doesn’t chat. Stands a drink now and then. But in a leap year one if four. Cashed a cheque for me once” (Joyce, Ulysses, 1922).


This unique little spot was first licensed in 1789 and saw a hundred years of trading before being purchased by its namesake in 1889 whose name remains on the pub to this day.

James Joyce regularly attended this drinking hole and he and Davy Byrne’s were known to be friends and it was in this pub that Leopold Bloom enjoyed a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and glass of burgundy for lunch.


Known for getting WB Yeats to drink a sherry within its walls (he was not a fan of the public house!) and counting Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) as one of its most regular customers, Toner’s is one not to be missed on your literary tour. Toner’s homely atmosphere with traditional stone floor and rustic charm in sure to be a welcoming sight on your literary tour!


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