Brazen Head: 10 Things to Know About This Famous Dublin Pub

The Brazen Head is a pub located in the area of Merchant's Quay in the city of Dublin. In the middle of the 18th century, the current structure was established as a coaching inn. However, the Pub may date back even earlier, leading many to believe that this traditional Irish watering hole is the oldest in Dublin and maybe even in all of Ireland.

Irish Expressions - Brazen Head Pub.  Photocredit Marta Carnero via Flickr.

The Brazen Head is located smack dab in the middle of Dublin 2, or the city center. It's located on the southern banks of the River Liffey on Lower Bridge Street.

While it's easiest to get to the pub on foot, you can also use the Dublin Bus. Bus number 40 heading to Charlestown stops just a two-minute walk from the entrance to the Pub. Taxis are also readily available throughout Dublin.

Things to Know About Brazen Head Pub

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • The Pub claims to date back to 1198. Local legend says that the site has been home to some form of tavern since that date, although there are no written records that can support the claim.
  • In 1661, a tavern on the site applied for and received a license to sell alcohol. This is the first documentation of a pub in the location. The actual building that now houses the Pub, however, was built around a century later.
  • In the 18th century, the pub was a large timber home with as many as 30 rooms. Bridge Street, where the pub is located, began growing to become a bustling commercial area, much like it is today.
  • The Brazen Head has a number of ties to Irish literature. James Joyce visited the pub on more than one occasion, and he even mentions it in his iconic book Ulysses. 
  • Plenty of modern celebrities have visited Brazen Head as well. Everyone from Garth Brooks to Van Morrison has stopped in for a drink while exploring the city of Dublin.
  • The name came from the soldiers who used to gather at the bridge and warm up over braziers, or burning barrels. That's the origin of the term brazier head, which is nearly identical to the name of the pub.
  • Irish nationalist rebels gathered at the Pub for meetings at the beginning of the 19th century. The pub has come to be associated with rebellion ever since.
  • One famed rebel, Robert Emmet, led a revolt against the British but was captured, tried for treason and executed. Legend says that he still haunts his favorite tavern...
  • The Brazen Head is now a top live music destination in Dublin. On any night of the week, you can show up and expect to hear local rock or Irish classics. On occasion, well-known acts like Van Morrison or Tom Jones will show up for an impromptu jam session.
  • You don't have to be a drinker to appreciate this famous Dublin landmark. In addition to local ales like Guinness and Kilkenny, you can dig into an extensive menu of classic pub fare. If you're there early in the day, indulge in the full Irish breakfast complete with fried eggs, sausage, bacon, black pudding, beans, fried toast and a grilled tomato.

For more information, you can visit the official website here.

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