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Upon my second trip to Dublin, it was my hope to stay in a hotel with a lively pub at its base – a pub that would attract colorful locals in addition to hotel guests and that would stay open past 10:00 p.m. This seemed the second best and most reasonable option when compared with my desire to actually lodge within a bar. On my previous trip, I stayed at the Academy Hotel, which is located at the top of O’Connell street on Findlater Place. It was a very nice hotel but the bar was average, did not stay open late and the hotel itself was a long walk to the action in Temple Bar and on Grafton Street. Fortunately, the Parnell Mooney was only minutes away but, unfortunately, a club was located right next to the hotel. So, at 2:00 a.m. I was startled awake by the drunk Irish guys stumbling out onto the street singing Who Let the Dogs Out? rather than being out there with them. The next time, I did it right by staying at O’Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse where the time lag between inebriated consciousness and unconsciousness was thankfully a mere couple of minutes.
Since 1885, O’Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse has stood at the corner of Pearse Street and Spring Garden Lane, and is not to be confused with O’Neills on Suffolk Street. Just look for the three-story, red-brick building with a black wooden facade adorned with plenty of fine Irish vegetation. The entrance to the pub can be found at the corner. Inside, you’ll find a relaxed, comfortable front barroom decorated in Victorian style with a long wooden bar on your left and plenty of seating against the windows. An additional barroom, thoroughly adorned in wood, is accessible through a door at the south end of the bar and features another long bar and an additional seating area filled with wooden tables and chairs in various snugs, located in front of multiple fireplaces. All of this comes in thanks to the building’s restoration in 1998. While its location is within spitting distance of Trinity College, the pub attracts a bit of an older crowd consisting of local residents, business people, members of various organizations, and tourists like me. However, the craic is congenial and lively, and is facilitated by good bartenders that serve a mean pint of Guinness. Students instead head to Temple Bar and places like the Stags Head, perhaps because it is the back of the college that runs along Pearse street, giving the area somewhat of an industrial-like feel. An excellent, constantly changing menu of home cooked Irish specialities is available between 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. for lunch and 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. for the evening meal.
As for the townhouse portion of O’Neills, there are eight rooms running about £20 to £40 per person, which includes a full Irish breakfast in the morning. The location is a good one, being only a 10-minute walk to Grafton Street and Temple Bar. If you are traveling to Dublin from abroad, just make sure someone is going to be there to open the door if you arrive in the morning or you risk getting stranded as the pub doesn’t open until 12:30 p.m. Once you’ve had a chance to settle into your room, I recommend that you adhere to the patented Sean Parnell Formula for Minimizing Jet Lag: go out and have something to eat (perhaps a gorgonzola and mustard sandwich at Davy Byrnes), take a three-hour nap, and then go out and get loaded until as late as possible (preferably 4:00 a.m.). As a result, your system won’t know what the hell is going on and jet lag will be the least of your concerns. Just make sure you bring an alarm clock as the rooms at O’Neills lack one as well as a phone. However, each room does have a bathroom so you won’t have to trudge down the hall, exposed to the world, for that early morning leak.
Between the pub and the room, my stay at O’Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse was an excellent one and helped ensure that my trip around Ireland started off on the right foot. We explored Dublin by day, the pubs by night and enjoyed a nightcap at O’Neills. For more information and to check for availability, check out the O’Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse website. Cheers.