O ’Donoghues of Merrion Road is probably the most famous traditional pub in Dublin with a storied and rich history. Steeped in musical tradition, it occupies a special place in Dublin’s pub culture.
The bar opened first in 1934 and soon developed a reputation for traditional Irish music, becoming a bee hive for many of the up and coming musicians and bands of the time. Perhaps the band most associated with the pub is the Dubliners. Fronted by the irrepressible Ronnie Drew the band went on to find international success, appeared on Top of the Pops for instance.
Now owned by Oliver Barden and John Mahon the bar hasn’t changed a bit really, sloped floors, odd angles, busy walls all give O’Donoghues distinct and unique feel. In the last number of years a new area has opened up to the right hand side. While it is more modern, it doesn’t feel out of place with the old part. Still we’d rather sit at the old bar!
The outside area for us is a bit of a muddle. It feels just doesn’t feel right, partly I think because of the lighting which is wrong for the space. You can also feel like you shouldn’t be there, as if you are genuinely in someone’s back yard that you shouldn’t be in!
The pub has traditional music 7 nights a week with musicians from all over Ireland. With that in mind it’s usually very busy so don’t expect to be able to swing your elbows too far. If you have time to pop in during the day you’ll get more of chance to let the pub draw you in. Of course, one of the benchmarks for any Irish pub is the quality of its Guinness and we can attest to a great pint of the black stuff at O’Donoghues!