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Neighbourhood: South City Centre
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Address: 3 Harry Street, Dublin, Ireland
Phone Number:
+353 1 679 4395
10:30 - 00:30
Closed now
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Sun 12:30 - 23:00
Mon - Thu 10:30 - 23:30
Fri - Sat 10:30 - 00:30

' I am a drinker with a writing problem'...the words of one infamous...

' I am a drinker with a writing problem'...the words of one infamous McDaids patron, Brendan Behan, and if ever there was a quote to raise an ironic smile then this was it. McDaids is now considered one of the most iconic Literary Pubs of Dublin not least thanks to Brendan, but it wasn't always so. In fact McDaids only became established as a true haunt for literary types after John Ryan, editor of the now defunct, Envoy magazine, began to attract all manner of writers and journalists here back in the late 1930's.

The building that houses McDaids can be traced back to the late 18th century and is reputed to have housed the City Morgue. It took on it's more ecclesiastical features when it was taken over by the Moravian Brothers some time later. They developed the practice of standing their corpses in a vertical position and it's suggested this may be the reason for the very high ceilings in the pub. It went through a litany of owners and was known as William Daly's Bar before John McDaid purchased the pub in 1936. Paddy O'Brien, one of the most famous bartenders, not just in McDaids, but in the whole of Dublin, worked here from 1937 until 1972, and was quoted as saying that 'Davy Byrnes was the one truly literary pub back then, McDaids in fact was nothing at all. It was a dreadful place, just an ordinary pub with snugs, stained glass partitions, spittoons and sawdust' John Ryan was equally harsh in his assessment saying that McDaids was a dowdy little pub, the plainest possible but that was one of the things I liked. 90% of people were working class" Thanks to some well intentioned advice to the owner from Paddy, the interior was torn out, the place brightened up a bit and thanks to a little help from Mr Ryan, the rest as they say is history.

Many literary greats have frequented here over the years but the 50's and 60's were the decades when the pub truly established it's now famous reputation. Brendan Behan, Paddy Kavanagh, Brian O'Nolan, Austin Clarke, Anthony Cronin, J.P. Donleavy and Liam O'Flaherty are just a handful of the famous writers that have graced the floors, quenched their thirsts and sought their inspiration in McDaids over the years and some of their portraits adorn the walls and look down now, perhaps in judgement, of the rather more sedate clientele that drink here these days.

In the early 1980's the bar was relocated from left as you walk in, to it's now familiar position on the right. Whether that was to confuse patrons into not knowing whether they were coming or going, one can only summise.

Whilst the walls may not be able to tell any stories from the bygone days, the latest generation of bartenders in McDaids are equally skilled in pouring pints of the black stuff and well versed in the history of this quite magnificent pub. So why not pop in, have a chat, a pint or two of Porter, and get a feel of what inspired those literary greats.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 80 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 36
  • 18
    Very good
  • 7
  • 3
  • 12
It's a wonderful relic

If your looking for a squeaky clean, quiet pub please look away, however if you are looking for a genuine old fashion pub that serves a wicked pint of Guinness and some great... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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80 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 76: English reviews
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Made a request for a change of Guinness glass; barman was rude, ignorant and aggressive. He's clearly not suited to the hospitality trade. Needless to say we won't be going back.

Thank Meddle1071
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
242 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

If your looking for a squeaky clean, quiet pub please look away, however if you are looking for a genuine old fashion pub that serves a wicked pint of Guinness and some great craic to boot please walk in. We enjoyed a few pints on New Years Eve before dining at the Westbury, the atmosphere can best be described as... More 

Thank BreezeRidge3
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I always visit this pub when home from Australia. This time i called in there with my family after the Walking tour of Dublin. It's a famous pub that many classic Irish writers drank in and it has real character. The barman however seems to want to get rid of customers. He reminded me of basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers... More 

Thank Fergus G
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 November 2016

I visited Mcdaids with my girlfriend and her family on the 13/11/2016 the night the Christmas lights were being lit in Grafton street. My girlfriends mother was asked to remove her Christmas hat by a bartender called Andy. She was told to remove it and turn the lights off it because its only November(Mcdaids even posted a picture of the... More 

1 Thank Owen M
A TripAdvisor Member
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 November 2016 via mobile

My family were in Grafton Street to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas lights last night. Upon entering McDaids and sitting at the bar with our drinks in great festive form like everyone else in town, your barman, Andy, stormed over to my 60 year old mother in the most angry and aggressive manner demanding she put her Christmas... More 

2 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Level Contributor
50 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 2016 via mobile

A great original Dublin Pub. Nice pleasant and engaging bar tender. He knows his whiskey well. The selection of great whiskeys is impressive. The pint of Guinness is feed here too . Good heritage and provenance here too. It's been there since 1700s

Thank Pavel B
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
79 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 October 2016

No gimmicks, no loud music, no tv screens. An authentic Dublin pub with a warm atmosphere. Great spot for a quiet drink or a night out. If you're visiting Dublin, McDaid's is a must.

Thank PirateLola
Rye, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
814 reviews
253 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 October 2016

Had a glass of Guinness here and found the pub to be authentic, historic, and atmospheric. I especially liked looking at the photos of all the authors on the wall, particularly Joyce. There were quite a few locals in the place.

Thank NHjo
Armagh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2016

I love going to this place and ALWAYS use it as the meeting point when I am hooking up with people in Dublin. It's easy to find, atmospheric and has the best pint of Guinness around. Great bar staff, old world Dublin vibe and a good selection of brews. It's a great starting/finishing point for a good old fashioned pub-crawl... More 

Thank BennyDoran
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2016 via mobile

Recommended by an Irish friend who now lives in Taiwan. I was there in the day time, kind slow, everyone enjoyed his/ her moment, like the pub itself. It was pity that there were no outdoor seating, on a lovely day, so I didn't stay long. Like someone else mentioned, the bartender wasn't really welcoming but not unfriendly either. As... More 

Thank tttttinac

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