In Poland we have a tradition of serving twelve dishes at Christmas Eve. In Ireland, the number twelve is also associated with Christmas, but a bit different … Ireland is a land of whiskey and land of numerous pubs. Therefore there is a yearly tradition called “12 Pubs of Christmas.”
12 Pubs of Christmas has very simple rules:
- You have to make sure it’s December.
- Organize as many friends as possible.
- Visit 12 pubs in one evening.
- In every pub, everyone should drink one drink or a beer.
- Half an hour maximum in one pub.
- Everyone should be wearing a Christmas jumper, a Santa hat or reindeer horns.
In the town of Carlow, there’s no problem finding twelve pubs. Right in the centre on its main streets, there are around twenty five or more. So if there aren’t any places, just go to the next one, a few steps away.
The pubs in Ireland are divided as so-called `wet pubs` (serving only alcohols) and `not wet pubs` (serving foods and alcohols). Ireland is the only country in Europe with wet pubs. I`dont drink so I`ve been only in pubs serving foods. I can highly recommended Reddy`s (specialy for Christmas dinner), Teach Dolmain and Dinn Rí (for lunch and dinner), Tully`s Bar (for pizza and scones).
Below I have prepared a list of the most interesting and the most popular pubs in Carlow town and their location on the map.
12 Pubs of Carlow Town
1. Corcoran’s Bar
Ranked as No 1 on the list of Top 10 best pubs in Carlow recently published by Ireland Before You Die.
Corcoran’s bar is the oldest original bar in Carlow town. It has a beautiful stylish front. Located just before you cross the Wellington bridge to Graiguecullen. The bar offers a relaxing atmosphere and old world charm. This beautiful original bar contains some of the best examples of Victorian hand carved mahogany and ebony in the country. Selections of international and local craft beers, along with a selection of Irish whiskeys are always on offer.
Carlow’s oldest and longest established family run pub dating back to 1768. Reddy’s of Carlow is a family-run pub and restaurant in the heart of Carlow town. The service at Reddy’s includes a food menu from morning until night, a full bar, live entertainment and sports, and event hosting for parties of up to one hundred people. The Reddy name is synonymous with hospitality in the southeast of Ireland and beyond. In addition to Reddy’s of Carlow, the family owns venues in Waterford, Dublin and Bayonne, France.
3. Teach Dolmain
Teach Dolmain is a restaurant and bar called after the Browneshill Dolmen. Teach Dolmain strives continually to portray this dolmen period of Carlow’s history and heritage in the pottery and artefacts on display throughout the bar and restaurant. Teach Dolmain has built up a firm reputation its award winning food and fantastic service in a relaxed setting.
4. Racey Byrne`s
Traditional pub situated in the heart of town. Racey Byrne’s Pub & B&B is one of Carlow’s oldest pubs with lots of character. Located in centre of Carlow town, the building dates back to 1678, and there’s been a pub on this site since 1829.
5. Scraggs Alley
Located on Tullow Street, the main street in downtown Carlow, Scraggs Alley is one of the town’s largest and most famous pubs. It has been providing live music and fun that appeals to people from all walks of life for the last 26 years. Scraggs Alley is reportedly haunted by a ghost. The ghost in the pub here is blamed for slamming doors and shifting furniture, and has been seen behind the bar and on the third floor of the building.
6. Tully`s Bar
A spacious, stylish and lively pub in the centre of Carlow town. Located on main street Tullow street. With a relaxed atmosphere and live music every night from Thursday to Sunday. It’s a favorite bar, number one Carlow’s student bar list. Serving probably one of the best scones in Carlow town.
7. Dinn Rí Bar
Carlow`s multi-award winning venue. Dinn Rí Bar has won the coveted ‘Black & White Pub of the Year’ award on 3 occasions. It also won ‘Best Pub Carvery in Leinster’ (2014), ‘Best Licensed Premises’ in Carlow (2014) and has received many Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019). Most recently, Dinn Rí was the proud recipient of the Carlow Chamber ‘Venue of the Year Award’ for 2018. At Dinn Rí Bar there are usually live bands playing each Saturday and for sports enthusiasts there are large screens which quite literally put you in the game. Dinn Rí is located in the heart of Carlow town and has several great party and celebration spaces.
8. The Irishmans
This authentic old style bar with large lounge, popular amongst locals, was previously the Nolan’s Railway Hotel where famous Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, stayed as a guest (1918). Nowadays, it is a popular pub that showcases live sports and accepts bookings for a variety of events.
9. Carpe Diem
Just next door to The Irishmans there is another pub called Carpe Diem. This pub is also called as hidden gem in the heart of Carlow. Three-time winner of the prestigious County Carlow Pub of the Year. This Georgian-style building, complete with open fires, previously acted as a bank and RTÉ regional office. Carpe was lovingly transformed with respect to its architecture into the prestigious pub it is today. It Serving “The Best Pint of Guinness in Carlow”, along with other local beers such as O Haras Pale Ale, Falling Apples Cider, O Haras Red Nitro & 12 Acres range of beers. Its extensive menu includes a wide selection of world-class Irish gins and whiskeys.
10. O’Loughlins Bar
O’Loughlins is a historic Victorian bar situated in what was once Carlows main street (Dublin Street). O’Loughlins is known as a meeting place for business, networking and particularly for avid sports lovers on match days. A great venue for live music and DJs’ as well as showing all the greatest sports matches & events including rugby, football, racing & GAA. In addition to its large beer garden and smoking area, it also boasts a games room, complete with a jukebox, poker machine, foosball table, and two pool tables.
11. Nancy Whiskeys
Nancy Whiskey is located in Carlow’s second main square Haymarket, across from Carlow Town Hall and next to St. Mary`S Church of Ireland. Pub took its name from a well-known folk song and it has one of the prettiest fronts.
12. The Thatch
One of Carlow town’s busiest pubs, located on the Graiguecullen side of Carlow town. This bar is favoured for its welcoming atmosphere. The Thatch is renowned for its quality pint and lively character. It is also known to display live traditional music some Monday evenings, which is a hit amongst locals and visitors alike..
Other pubs in Carlow Town:
- Carpenters – 10 Barrack St, Carlow
- Salt Bar – 70 Tullow St, Carlow
- The Med Bar – 112 Tullow St, Carlow (closed)
- Mimosa Bar de Tapas – College St, Graigue, Carlow
- The Barracks – 32 Tullow St, Graigue, Carlow
- The Terrace – 7 Potato Market, Graigue, Carlow
- The Tullow Gate JD Wethspoons – 7 Tullow St, Graigue, Carlow
- Ewing’s Bar – Hay Market, Graigue, Carlow
- Stonehaven Lounge – 10 Centaur St, Graigue, Carlow
- E.J. Morrissey – 56 Dublin St, Graigue, Carlow
- The Castle Tavern – Castle St, Graigue, Carlow
- Dicey Reilly’s – Centaur St, Graigue, Carlow
- Brennan’s Lounge – 1 Morrin’s Ln, Graigue, Carlow