Food & DrinkPub Spy

Pub Spy picks his Top 10 Irish pubs of 2015

Ernie's Bar in Wicklow Town, one of only four boozers to get 5 out of 5 from Pub Spy in 2015
Ernie's Bar in Wicklow Town, one of only four boozers to get 5 out of 5 from Pub Spy in 2015

It’s been another eventful year for Pub Spy and the crack team of commandos whichbegan on January 4 in the Faithful County and finished last week on Thomas Street in Dublin city.

Our pubmobile covered huge ground again this year having tasted stout in pubs in Sneem in Kerry and Donegal town and this was the first year in a long time that Pub Spy was generally very pleased with his weekly visits.

Smoking in toilets continues to be an issue and a huge bugbear of ours, but we must admit that we aren’t seeing as much of it. 

Before we reveal the Top 10 pubs for 2015 we would like to give some honourable mentions to Vaughan’s and Brady’s pubs in Terenure, Byrne’s pub in Edenderry, The Railway Bar in Newbridge and Begley’s of Ennybegs. 

So, without further ado…

Ernie’s, Wicklow Town, Co. Wicklow 
(January 18)

Four pubs were awarded a five star rating from Pub Spy this year and we only had to wait three weeks into the year before awarding the first. Ernie’s of Wicklow Town was the recipient and it was fully deserved.

We loved every thing about this pub and can’t recommend it highly enough. The furnishings are of the finest quality and the staff were very friendly. 


Con’s, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
(January 25)

Pub Spy was told during his visit to Con’s pub in Mullingar that apparently if you want to meet Niall Horan over the Christmas, this is the most likely place to do so. This pub is a former ‘Pub of the Year’ winner and we’re not remotely surprised. Check it out if you’re in the vicinity. We promise you won’t regret it.


The Morgue, Templeogue, Co. Dublin 
(April 12)

The liveliest morgue we’ve been too! This pub was packed to the rafters when Pub Spy called and the atmosphere was nothing short of superb. There was an army of staff on duty, but each and every one of them were very busy. The Morgue is definitely worth checking out. We enjoyed every minute of our time there.


James O’Keefe, Ennis, Co. Clare
(April 19)

This was another pub the Old Commando described as a gem and it was impossible to disagree with him. We only visited Co. Clare once this year and boy were we lucky that visit included this pub in Ennis. We had a great time here and one table even has its own taps! 


Myles Breen’s, Limerick City, Co. Limerick
(April 26)
This pub on Shannon Street hasn’t seen the last of Pub Spy or his team of Commandos. We’re itching to call again some day and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later. We loved everything about this pub and if you’re a fan of the oval-shaped ball, and most people in Limerick are, then this is the place for you. It made quite an impression with our troops, so much so that they’re still talking about it.


The Cock and Bull, Raheny, Co. Dublin 
(May 24)
We noted at the time that The Cock and Bull was something special and we stand over that opinion. The atmosphere was electric and the furnishings grabbed our attention immediately. The fur-covered swivel barstools were the most memorable we’ve come across in years. 


O’Connor’s, Kells, Co. Meath
(July 5)

We had a ball in this stunning boozer and its still spoken about in the pubmobile to this day. An attractive front exterior was matched and bettered by a fabulous interior. The brown leather furniture was top quality and the pints of porter were even better. 


Tony Lowry, Tipperary Town, Co. Tipperary
(July 26)

We could spend all day and night in this boozer and not get bored. It’s fabulous and a credit to its owners. We awarded it five pints in 2005 and 2015. Standards don’t drop in Tony Lowry’s pub and that’s the way to have it. Keep up the excellent work.


TP Cotter’s, Macroom, Co. Cork (above)
(August 23)

The first two words out of the Old Commando’s mouth when he tasted his pint of stout in TP Cotter’s pub were “five stars”! We knew there was something special about this pub as soon as we set foot inside the front door. The interior was stunning — and so were the two blonde barmaids!


Kelly’ Bar, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow 
(October 18)

Anywhere we can get porter for under €4 is always a positive, but when you can get it for under €4 in terrific surroundings, well that is amazing. We weren’t sure what to expect when we rocked up, but we were thrilled with what we got. This is a sports fan’s dream.