Doolin is a tiny coastal village located in County Clare, Ireland with a population of only around 500. Doolin is conveniently located about midway along the Wild Atlantic Way and borders tourist attractions like Doonagore and Ballinalacken Castles and the small town of Lisdoonvarna, which is famously known as the Matchmaker Town. These attributes make Doolin the perfect place to spend some time/the night on your road trip around Ireland.
Given its small size, there isn’t too much to do directly in the town of Doolin but the one thing you’ll find in every town (no matter its size) in Ireland is some fantastic traditional music and pubs. The best part is that since Doolin isn’t very big, you can easily walk everywhere and it’s next to impossible to get lost since all the pubs are along the one main road.
So get your drinking faces on and get ready to enjoy the best of Doolin, and for the record, we visited on Sunday and these places were all still bopping!
Stop one: Gus O’Connors
Established in 1832 Gus O’Connors is probably the most popular joint in town but the reason I’m listing it first is that it’s a great place to get some good pub grub to give yourself a base for the rest of the night. Try their traditional dishes like fish and chips or Irish stew and enjoy live music from local artists nightly from 9pm (and 6pm on Sunday).
Stop two: Fitzpatrick’s Bar
Gus O’Connors is located a bit further down the road than Fitzpatrick and the below so I’d suggest either starting with Gus O’Connors or starting with McDermott’s Bar depending on where your accommodations are located. Fitzpatrick Bar also boasts great food and live music. You may have to wait for a table if you’re planning on coming to enjoy the music but there’s lots of room to stand by the bar and enjoy it if you’re okay with standing. Like most pubs, Fitzpatrick’s has nightly music starting around 9pm but likely earlier on Sunday.
Stop three: McGann’s
Live music runs almost non-stop at McGann’s and they advertise that “spontaneous music sessions” can happen at anytime in this pub, restaurant and bed & breakfast. This was the busiest of all the pubs we went to the night we were there. It was definitely crowded but the happy atmosphere of a bunch of people enjoying a Sunday pint gets you pumped. This was a hard place to drag our crew out of to move onto stop number four because everyone was having so much fun!
Stop four: McDermott’s Bar
Last but not least, head across the street from McGann’s to McDermott’s Bar. This was my favourite spot of the evening. There was lots of room to sit and stand in this historic pub and the music was phenomenal. This pub has been in the McDermott’s family since 1867 and hosts live music every night during the high season and on weekends in the winter.
Below is a map of all the pubs: