What makes a great Irish bar? Let’s face it, there are enough of them. For us, it’s more than the Guinness, the John Jameson and the hearty plates of colcannon. It’s even more than the misty-eyed renditions of Danny Boy. For us, it’s all about the craic. That indefinable vibe that makes you think, whatever your heritage, this place feels like home. In celebration of St Patrick’s Day, here are eight of our favourites, close to our parcs.
Paddy O’Dowd’s, Vannes
Always sure to raise the spirits, this venerable old boozer is a longstanding Vannes favourite. And, it being in Brittany, there’s a definite Celtic connection here which makes the atmosphere all the more authentic – so expect a pint of the black stuff served alongside terrific Breton cider and a range of northern French ale.
23 Rue Ferdinand le Dressay, Vannes
Nearest parc: The treetop adventure course, wellness centre and fantastic range of accommodation at Le Mané Guernehué combine to create one of our best-loved Brittany parcs.
O’ Luain’s, Cascais
Tucked away down a little side street (but close to the promenade), O’Luain’s is just about as welcoming as an Irish bar gets: run by a cheery band of ex-pats, and almost always offering live music, O’Luain’s gets hot and sweaty in summer. But, fortunately, there’s plenty of liquid refreshment on hand!
R. da Palmeira 4, Cascais
Nearest parc: Guincho’s low-key charm really wins you over. It’s a peaceful spot, with a smashing pool, and generously spaced pitches, close to the sands of Guincho’s dramatic beach.
Ma Nolans, Nice
With a suitably stylish Riviera flourish, Ma Nolan’s Irish Bar is right off the Cours Saleya, one of the liveliest stretches in Old Nice. And it fits in perfectly – there’s always a crowd here. They come for the craic, of course, but also for the great food (trust us, the breakfast’s worth getting up for!)
2 Rue Saint-François de Paule, Nice
Nearest parc: A great value option for those seeking South of France sunshine, a great base and a sun-warmed pool, our value parc, Green Park Campsite, is tucked into a lovely valley, just 10km inland from the coast.
Christy’s Irish Bar, Salou
It’s hard to fault the friendliness and entertainment on offer at Salou’s sure-footed little slice of the Emerald Isle, Christy’s Irish Bar. Yes, there are others, but for our money, this is the most authentic – and yes, that even goes as far as those big screens showing the live Gaelic football matches. Slainte!
Carrer Falset, 43840, Salou
Nearest parc: New this season, stunning Sanguli couldn’t be better placed – close to Salou’s bustling heart, this parc offers a truly excellent array of facilities, a great pool complex and beautifully landscaped grounds.
The Michael Collins Pub, Florence
There are a few decent Irish bars in lovely Florence – but you’ll not go far wrong by starting your excursions at this little beauty, situated in the stunning Piazza Della Signoria. There’s a great selection of international beers, Irish whiskey (of course) and live sports. And there’s music every night – even if it’s just you singing on Karaoke Saturdays!
Piazza della Signoria, Florence
Nearest parc: Justifiably popular, Norcenni Girasole Club is a Tuscan gem. Wine tasting, cookery classes and magnificent views make this parc a cut above the rest. And its pools and beautiful pitches just ramp up the charm even more.
O’Casey’s, The Hague
Close to the Irish Embassy (it’s thirsty work, being a diplomat you know), this is a little treat for those looking for a hearty bowl of Irish stew washed down with a pint of Kilkenny, while listening to live music or watching a match on the huge screens. And, come on, who doesn’t want an afternoon like that every once in a while?
Noordeinde 140, Den Hague
Nearest parc: With its own theme park, and a huge expanse of golden sands just five minutes away, Duinrell is a North Sea tonic for those who want to squeeze fun, laughs and family-friendly thrills into every day.
Galway Bay, Innsbruck
Austria knows a thing or two about great beer, so it’s no surprise that Innsbruck’s excellent Galway Bay pub mixes the black stuff with the craft stuff: so you can plump for a perfectly poured pint of Guinness or any of their range of brilliant craft beers. Food is freshly cooked and delicious, too, and there’s live music every Thursday.
Kaiserjäger Strasse 4, Innsbruck
Nearest parc: Pretty Alpine towns, bewitching hiking trails and a lakeside parc to come home to every evening. What more could you ask for in a location? Natterer See manages to combine genuine, laid-back mountain hospitality with thrilling water sports.
The Three Tells, Interlaken
You have to look twice. Yes, outside it looks like an Alpine chalet – but inside, you could swear you were sharing a tall tale or two with friends in downtown Cork. That’s how authentic this place feels. And then you try the Steak & Guinness pie, and you know: you’re in safe hands here!
Hauptstrasse 49, 3800 Matten bei Interlaken
Nearest parc: Manor Farm campsite is a lakeside parc with immense charm – and views that just keep on giving! With its own private beach, lots of watersports and generous grassy pitches, it’s peak perfection.
Of course, it’s entirely possible we’ve missed out your favourite. So why don’t you tell us, below? Ah, go on, go on…