Drink at a Pub in Dublin, Ireland

Life List #170: Grab a pint at a pub in Ireland.

Tales from the Irish pub.

“Mexican Monkey”

We had had every intent on making it to the National Leprechaun Museum that afternoon in Dublin. But, after meeting friends at a pub, after a few pints, after more and more people showed up, closing time came and went.

Hours later, after the traditional music played on a small stage at the back of the bar, after the Irish dance performance, the pub switched to recorded contemporary tunes. One of which, was Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.

I first heard this song somewhere in some bar in Central America. I didn’t know what it was called, who sang it, what it was about. All I could hear though, every time the chorus played, was someone chanting about a “Mexican Monkey.”

And so, as we danced in that pub in Dublin, I told this to one of my friends. And then to all of them. And they heard it. And then the restaurant played the song three more times. And we laughed. And we sang our fake lyrics at the top of our lungs. And we made up a Mexican Monkey dance.

And now, hopefully, you’ll hear it too.

Drinking pints at a pub in Dublin, Ireland

An empty glass of Bulmers at a pub in Dublin, Ireland

Drinking pints at a pub in Dublin, Ireland


“I love that you’re sick so you’re just drinking hot whiskey.”

Hot whiskey is a combination of whiskey, hot water, sugar, lemon, and cloves.

It’s warm heaven in a glass for when it’s chilly outside or when you’ve woken up in your hostel bed every morning for a week with a sore throat.

It’s dangerous, though, when you go out in a pub in Galway to listen to a live band play cover songs from the 90s and you’re a little sick so you drink four of them in a row. Because, the next morning, you may wake up with both a sore throat and a headache.

Drinking hot whiskey at a pub in Galway, Ireland


“I don’t get it.”

I was in the second-floor toilet when I heard it: the cover band playing Get Lucky. I screamed, from within the stall, pulled up my jeans, and ran downstairs to my friends, arriving back to them just as the chorus began.

We’d been trying to convince our hostel’s manager all night to hear “Mexican Monkey” within the lyrics and he didn’t believe us.

And, there, in the pub, as we sang the wrong lyrics at the top of our lungs, he just looked us and shook his head.

Drinking cider at a pub in Galway, Ireland


“I’m not drinking tonight. Only a few.”

Morgan, a barista and pizza slinger from Cork, sat down across from me at the pub. “I’m not drinking tonight,” he told me, sipping on a Eight Degrees craft ale, “only a few.”

We sat there, drinking, though, not drinking, I suppose, for the next few hours. Talking about family and goals. And we had more in common than I’d ever thought. Somewhere between five and eight beers later, as the bar was closing up, we left.

So, if you’re wondering, if an Irish man says he’s not drinking, he means only a few. And by only a few he means somewhere between five and eight.


“I’ll have a spoon.”

On my last night in Ireland, I went to a pub in Dublin’s Temple Bar (a touristy stretch of bars and restaurants) for dinner, one last pint of Guinness, and some traditional live music.

“I’ll have the chowder,” I told the bartender, wanting something hearty but cheap because I only had a handful of Euros left.

When the bowl arrived the Irish man next to me leaned over the bar and said to the bartender, “I’ll have a spoon.”

Pint of Guinness at a pub in Dublin, Ireland

Seafood chowder at a pub in Dublin, Ireland

Traditional Irish Music at a pub in Dublin, Ireland


“Grab a pint at a pub in Ireland” was number 170 on my life list. And I drank a hell of a lot of pints at a hell of a lot of pubs while in Ireland.


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Kerry
    November 25, 2013at6:27 am

    Ha, that reminds me of a conversation I overheard among locals in an Irish pub in London:

    “A Guinness for yourself?”
    “Oh no thank you, I’m not drinking tonight. A Bulmer’s will do nicely.”

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