Pubs of the week

The place to celebrate St Patrick's Day? A Dublin bar. And the drink? Guinness, of course, says Andy Lynes

Some people will try to tell you that Guinness tastes the same wherever you drink it. They will point out that the draught version, wherever it is served in the world, is now brewed in Dublin so every pint will be identical. These people have no poetry in their soul and are far too eager to let the facts get in the way of a good story for my liking. A pint of the black stuff supped in Dublin tastes of impossibly romantic notions, elegantly wasted afternoons and Merrion Square in the rain - more than enough reasons to justify that low-cost flight to celebrate St Patrick's Day on 17 March in real style.

The stylish Guinness Storehouse, St James's Gate (00 353 1 408 4800; guinness-storehouse.com) is one of those very rare things - a tourist attraction worth visiting. Learn the history of the company and the secrets of its brew before enjoying a complimentary pint and the 360- degree city views in the seventh-floor Gravity Bar.

The appropriately named Octagon Bar at The Clarence Hotel, 6-8 Wellington Quay (00 353 1 407 0800; theclarence.ie) was a favourite haunt of Guinness lovers long before U2 became its landlords in the early 1990s.

Recently restored to its full Victorian glory, Ryan's of Parkgate Street, 28 Parkgate Street (00 353 1 677 6097; fxbrestaurants.com) with its horseshoe-shaped oak and mahogany bar remains an essential stop on anyone's Dublin pub crawl itinerary.

Legend has it that the Celtic Tiger economy was not created in the corridors of power but by politicians and civil servants over a few pints at Doheny & Nesbitts, 5 Lower Baggot Street (00 353 1 676 2945), just around the corner from their government building offices.

The atmosphere has livened up a bit at McDaids, 3 Harry Street (00 353 1 6794395), since its days as the city morgue. It's claimed that Brendan Behan based some of the characters in his most popular plays on the pub's regulars.

The Brazen Head, 20 Bridge Street (00 353 1 6779549; brazenhead.com) is Dublin's oldest pub and first opened its doors in 1198. It's as well known for its live music as its famous beef and Guinness stew. Van Morrison and The Dubliners have graced its stage.

Immortalised in Dubliners by James Joyce, Mulligan's Pub, Poolbeg Steet (00 353 1 6775582; mulligans.ie) is little changed since the author's time and often said to serve the best pint of Guinness in Dublin.

The beautiful chapel-like interior of the The Stags Head, Dame Court (00 353 1 6793701) has served as a setting for the film Educating Rita - and a Guinness ad campaign.

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