Irish Pub, Temple Bar Dublin at night

Understanding Ireland’s Pub Culture

Pint glasses are extremely popular Irish gifts and souvenirs because the island’s pub culture is so beloved. The local pub is not simply where people go to drink. It’s a home away from home, where friends meet up casually in the evening or gather to watch the match on a weekend afternoon. Traditional music is best enjoyed in its natural habitat – the pub, not the glitzy venue.

5 Tips for Visiting an Irish Pub

Irish pubs have a lot of unwritten rules, things that are just part of the culture. While they are instinctive for locals, they can confuse visitors. So here’s a handy list of what you should know when you visit an Irish pub.

  • While you won’t hear Irish spoken very much outside the Gaeltacht, one place it is widely used is restrooms signs. Fir is men, and mna is women. Many places now have individual unisex restrooms, making it easier to avoid any confusion.
  • Buy your round. It’s rare to see someone in a group just buy a drink for themselves. The normal thing is to buy a round of drinks for everyone in your party. Irish people would think it rude to skip someone. If someone includes you in a round, the proper thing is to get the next round and include them. Few traits are more despised in Ireland than being stingy or selfish.
Pulling a pint
  • Don’t be alarmed to see children in the bar. They’re allowed until 9.00 pm, provided a parent or guardian is supervising them. The drinking age is 18, so some of the regulars might look very young to Americans but they’re legal.
  • Draught beer (aka draft beer) comes in two sizes – a pint or a glass. A pint is larger than a glass. And now thanks to social media you won’t get too many strange looks for photographing your pint. You can get your very own pint glasses where quality Irish gifts are sold – so avoid the temptation to take one as a souvenir!
Pints of Irish Stout lined up at bar
  • Tipping is not a thing in Irish pubs. Neither is table service, although it became a thing during Covid restrictions. You might see a tip jar on a counter in a café, but it is not expected in pubs. Irish culture values generosity, but aside from rounding up the bill, tipping just hasn’t caught on here.

Different Pubs Share Some Common Ground

Ireland has a variety of different pubs. Some feature live music while others are sports bars. Some host dart leagues, while others are trendy. But almost all of them have at least a few of these unwritten rules, along with a friendly atmosphere.

A place to watch the match

Visiting Irish pubs is a highlight of many visitors’ time in Ireland – especially if they happen upon a traditional music session. You can expect a friendly, welcoming vibe with people exchanging banter and chat.

Get a Piece of the Irish Pub Experience

Shop Irish Pub Gifts

No doubt the welcome found in the pubs is one reason that pint glasses, coasters and bar decorations are such popular Irish gifts. They’re linked with great memories and hopes of making more.