John Mulligan’s is another old Southside Dublin pub famed for the quality of its Guinness and has strong connections to James Joyce, a regular, who has the characters meet here at the end of a story in The Dubliners. The UK is the only country to drink more Guinness than Ireland and, surprisingly, Nigeria beats the US into fourth place.
Dublin – Been There

Inside the pub that, in its way, changed fiction forever

Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Dublin – Been There Inside the pub that, in its way, changed fiction forever

The pubs in Dublin are special. The interiors are great, the light is often fantastic, and some of the customers fit in so well it feels like they are straight from a casting agency.

Chris Woolfrey
Chris Woolfrey

James Joyce knew this well. He was a regular at Dublin favorite Mulligan's and even set a scene there in one of his Dubliners short stories.

So the story goes:

"When the Scotch House closed they went round to Mulligan's. They went into the parlour at the back and O'Halloran ordered small hot specials all round. They were all beginning to feel mellow. Farrington was just standing another round when Weathers came back. Much to Farrington's relief he drank a glass of bitter this time. Funds were getting low but they had enough to keep them going."

And even more importantly than that, Joyce probably made notes for Ulysses at Mulligan's. Which makes sense: the experimental modernist masterpiece that changed literature forever contains an awful lot of beer. There's even a passage describing the making of the stuff, which reads more poetically than most authors writing about love.

"For they garner the succulent berries of the hop and mass and sift and bruise and brew them and they mix therewith sour juices and bring the must to the sacred fire and cease not night or day from their toil, those cunning brothers, lords of the vat."

The owners at Mulligan's, who know which seat was Joyce's favorite spot at the bar, have asked scholars to verify that Joyce made notes for the book there. The consensus is that he probably did, and you can see why: the pub is such a symbol of all that makes drinking in Dublin good.


Fancy a pint at Mulligan's? Be prepared. Read TRVL's Dublin city guide

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