We’ve been coming to Limerick, Ireland, for over 20 years and now call it home. In that time, we’ve stepped foot in our fair share of Irish pubs. Because Limerick will be home for the foreseeable future, we thought it appropriate to give an insider’s look at the best pubs in Limerick. Opinions will vary and some pubs might not make the list. Our goal is not to upset anyone but rather to highlight the Limerick pubs we like to enjoy a pint or two in.
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What Makes A Good Limerick Pub
Ask this question in an Irish pub and you’ll a million different answers. You might even set off a few heated arguments. Like most things, determining what makes a good Irish pub comes down to personal preference. What I like, you might not. As I’ve gotten older, I’m ok if there’s no TV in the pub. For some a TV is a must. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few ingredients essential for a good pub.
If you come to Ireland, you’ll hear people talking about the “craic.” Example “we had a great craic last night” or simply, “how’s the craic?” Pronounced “crack”, it’s a Gaelic word loosely translated to mean loud or bragging conversation. But in reality, it’s not loud conversation but rather good conversation. Hearing stories, telling stories, having a good laugh. That’s craic. Finding a pub where the atmosphere allows for good craic is godsent.
What’s On Tap
Pubs in Limerick and throughout Ireland have changed a great deal in the 20 years since we’ve been coming here. Thankfully, it’s been over 15 years since Ireland banned smoking in pubs and restaurants. As non-smokers, this was music to our ears. The popularity of cocktails and pubs with cocktail menus has increased since our first trip in 1999. We do love our Irish gin and enjoying a proper gin tonic made with Irish gin has gotten much easier. And lastly, the increase in beer options has greatly improved. More on that in a bit.
At the end of the day, a good pub needs to pour a good Guinness. Finding a good pint of Guinness, even in Ireland, isn’t as easy as it seems. We are fortunate to have several pubs in Limerick that pour a proper pint. I’m not going to say where I think the best pint of Guinness in Limerick is poured. We learned our lesson a few years back and were nearly run out of Limerick, well not really. Let’s just say, the owner of this pub in Limerick knows how much I enjoy their pint.
It’s only been in the past five or six years that Amber and I have grown to really enjoy craft beer. We are fortunate to have a ton of great craft beer brewers here in Ireland. Even better, several Limerick pubs are starting to carry more and more independent Irish beers. While I do enjoy my Guinness, I find myself looking for pubs that serve craft beer.
Our Local Pubs In Limerick
Mother Mac’s Public House
Ever since we first step foot inside Mother Mac’s we’ve felt like one of the family. Owned by brothers Mike and James McMahon, Mother Mac’s is what you want in a pub. Great beer, great atmosphere, and great people, both customers and staff alike. Located in the Market Quarter of Limerick, Mother Mac’s is a stone’s throw from the Limerick Milk Market.
In addition to pouring one of THE best pints of Guinness in Limerick, Mother Mac’s proudly supports craft beer brewers from around Ireland. Their selection of independent Irish craft beers is extensive and constantly updating. The staff is super knowledgeable and can help you find the right craft beer for you. If Irish whiskey is your thing, Mother Mac’s has got you covered with over 130 different Irish whiskeys to choose from. For those wanting to dive deeper into Irish whiskey, Mother Mac’s now offers guided whiskey tastings through their Limerick Whiskey Experience.
Mother Macs Public House, 8/9 High Street Limerick
Patsy Flannery’s Bar
Patsy Flannery’s Bar on Wickham Street is probably what most people imagine a pub in Limerick to look like. A relatively small pub, Flannery’s was established in 1898. With its red upholstered benches along the walls and mosaic-styled fireplace, its the perfect escape from Ireland’s notoriously bad weather. Popular for those locals who like to “play the ponies”, Patsy Flannery’s is popular with us because of its special pint of Guinness.
Often referred to as a “soft Guinness”, this is a pint of Guinness that is served “warm”. Warm being a relative term, but let’s just say the soft Guinness isn’t as cold as a regular pint of Guinness. For me, the soft Guinness is more flavorful compared to a regular Guinness. Whenever we visit Patsy Flannery’s it’s the first pint I order. From what I understand, Patsy Flannery’s is one of the few remaining pubs in Limerick or even Ireland to pour such a pint. Even more of a reason to try one.
Patsy Flannery’s Bar 37 Wickham Street Limerick
Dating back to 1904, Fennessy’s Pub is a 10-minute walk from the center of Limerick. Owned by fourth-generation publican Dara Collins, Fennessy’s embodies what makes for great a neighborhood pub in Limerick. And it all starts with their pint of Guinness. Again, not saying where’s my favorite print, but Dara pours one of the best in Limerick. One of the things we love about Fennessy’s is its location outside of the Limerick City center. Surrounded by houses, Fennessy’s truly is a neighborhood pub. Best of all, we’ve always felt welcomed by the staff and customers at Fennessy’s. It’s simply a great pub to enjoy a great pint. If you get hungry, ask for the toasted sandwich. Trust me.
Timmy Martin’s Pub
We joking refer to Timmy Martin’s Pub as our “last chance pint” in Limerick. Located near the Sarsfield Bridge, it’s our last chance to enjoy one or more pints before walking home. But at the end of the day, Timmy Martin’s is more than this. Like many Limerick pubs, Timmy Martin’s is a multi-generational pub. The pub itself dates back to 1830. Over the years it’s changed hands and names. Timmy Martin’s has been owned and operated by the same family since 1964. It’s truly special to see father and son working side by side pouring pints and having a good craic with their customers.
Timmy Martin’s Pub 23 Sarsfield Street Limerick
The second Flannery’s on our list and one of six Flannery’s in Limerick. Flannery’s Bar is the type of pub you want to walk into and not leave. Warm and welcoming, a beautiful dark wood bar greets you upon walking in. The entire perimeter of the pub features red upholstered benches. It’s the perfect setting for a great pint of Guinness or dram of whiskey. First opened in 1965, Flannyer’s Bar is yet another example of a great multi-generational pub in Limerick. Opened by seasoned publican Phil Flannery, his son Paul and other members of the family all pitch in at the pub.
Flannery’s Bar 19 Shannon Street Limerick
Craft Beer In Limerick
One of the most exciting developments over the past few years in Limerick has been the establishment of two amazing craft beer breweries. While Treaty City Brewery and Crew Brewing Company are not technically pubs, we love what they are doing too much not to include them. Besides, this post is about where we enjoy having a pint or two and you’ll certainly find us at both.
Treaty City Brewery
Just steps from the 13th-century King John’s Castle, Limerick’s most famous landmark, Treaty City Brewery is putting its own mark on Limerick history. The first Limerick brewery to open in over 100 years, Treaty City brews a full range of outstanding Irish craft beers. Anchored by my personal favorite, Harris Pale Ale, Treaty City’s offering includes its core lineup and creative seasonal beers. Tour and tasting are available at Treaty City.
Treaty City Brewery, 24 & 25 Nichols Street Limerick
Crew Brewing Company
What happens when a group of beer-loving friends from Belfast comes together in Limerick? The answer is great Irish craft beer brewed in the heart of the city. Friends Jono, Gareth, Joel, and Emma started Crew Brewing to brew fresh local beers in a place where everyone is welcomed. And with Crew, they achieved exactly this. Their line of high-quality independent Irish beers is constantly changing keeping the Limerick craft beer loving community on its toes. The atmosphere at Crew couldn’t be more ideal for tasting great craft beer while enjoying the craic with friends.
Crew Brewing Company 35 Thomas Street Limerick