What could be better than a great meal after a long day of touring through the Irish countryside and Dublin? As we were planning this leg of the trip my husband kept asking what I wanted to see most. My reply each time was, “We can do whatever looks good to you, as long as we eat in a real Irish pub.” This would be surprising to most people who know me. I’m not a beer aficionado and don’t eat beef, pork or much pub-style food. So why an Irish pub? Mostly, it’s one of the things that seems Irish to me. Since we only had 2 full days in the country, I wanted to eat somewhere that felt Irish.
Our B&B hosts debated the matter a bit and then sent us to the Man o’War Bar and Restaurant. We drove up and it looked legitimate. There was a thatched roof and at least part of the structure/foundation dated back to 1595. There were taxis out front indicating that locals would need a safe ride home. Check a few boxes for authenticity.
So authentic that when we walked into the pub, it was like one of those scenes in a movie where there’s a screech and the whole place falls silent and stares at the main characters. Maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but it was clear we were from out of town and out of place. This was a dingy, dark bar with no children and no tables. One patron noticed our looks of bewilderment and gestured towards a door.
It turns out we had entered through the ‘bar’ part of the establishment and not the ‘restaurant’ part. The restaurant was furnished in dark wood and was clean and cozy. Maybe this section wasn’t a “true” Irish pub, but was a much more pleasant place to eat.
The menu was varied and reasonably priced. I ordered a potato leek soup as well as chicken and chips. My husband got the beef and Guinness stew, which he really enjoyed. Both girls ordered more tea (of course!) and had no problem picking from the choices on the under 12 menu. We were happy with our meal and enjoyed the Man o’War very much.
I am fully aware that those in the know might be laughing at my assessment of a “real Irish pub.” For me, I was happy to eat at a place that seemed to have more locals than tourists and a menu that matched the region.