Two white-haired men watched me when my pint arrived, presumably to see if I would let the head settle before my first sip. Satisfied that I was giving my Guinness the respect it deserved—of course I waited for the pour to reach its full potential—the men turned back toward the sun.
With glasses of golden ale in front of them, they sat with their eyes closed, chatting and sipping. It was a sunny day in Dublin, and I felt lucky to find an open table outside Finnegan’s, a pub in the seaside village of Dalkey.
The Irish pub is an institution for good reason. Bartenders and regulars are generally quick-witted, hospitable, and inquisitive without being intrusive, so visitors can engage as little or as much as they’d like.
But not all Irish pubs are created equal. Finnegan’s has the warm glow of original light fittings, smooth mahogany, stained glass windows, and a fireplace that beckons, whether or not it’s drizzling outside.
It’s the kind of place that invites you to sink in and stay awhile, and once you leave, to feel a bit lighter. On that summer afternoon, I had everything I needed: a book in hand, a pint on the table, and the sun on my face.