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Drinking in Dublin

Gogarty's Dublin Pub

Forget Las Vegas. Don't even think about Rio. The new party town is a Blarney Stone's-throw over the pond in Ireland. Just like it doesn't need to be Mardi Gras to celebrate in New Orleans, it doesn't take St. Patrick's Day to get the pubs full and rocking in Dublin. But before you start conjuring up images of gray haired men in tweed saddling up to the bar to drown their sorrows in a pint, guess again. Though rich in history, Dublin is quickly becoming a young city, thanks in part to its booming economy.

While agriculture was once the country's predominant industry, things have changed dramatically in the past ten years or so. Today, Ireland is the world's second largest software producer. Yes, Ireland; Yes, software. With companies like Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Hewlett Packard and Gateway setting up shop throughout the Emerald Isle, young professionals from across the EU are flocking there for jobs. In fact, 50 percent of the current population of Ireland (5.5 million) is under the age of 25. Which means the streets of Dublin come alive every evening when the city's 1,000 pubs get flooded with potential partiers.

The drink of choice is beer, mostly Guinness, and the trend among women is to order a Guinness with a splash of black currant juice to sweeten it up a bit. Mixed drinks are available, but this isn't the place for flaunting your martini. Beer is definitely where it's at, whether in a pint, a half-pint or a glass.

Pub Laws

First-time visitors to Dublin may be surprised by some of the pub laws, particularly the fact that last call is 11:30pm throughout the week, 12:30am on Fridays and Saturdays. For a city with so many pubs and such an imbibing reputation, that seems somewhat incongruous. But never fear; for those in the know, there are certain clubs that have special "after hours" licenses where you can continue the conversations you started. The only caveat: no beer. For some reason, these places are only allowed to serve wine.

Another law that may come as a surprise is the smoking ban, which was instituted in March. All enclosed workplaces in Ireland—pubs included—must now be smoke-free. In order to deal with this controversial rule, some pubs have covered and heated "beer gardens" where the smoking population can congregate.

— Patti Woods


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