Though many exist further out, O’Neill’s is surprisingly the only Irish pub in the city centre. Staffed by and catering to many expats, it offers traditional Irish breakfasts, traditional Irish beers, and traditional live Irish music on Friday and Saturday nights. A chain pub, it very much has a chain feel in terms of food menus, drinks selection and decor.
Built in 1865 as a Masonic hall, the exterior embellishments make this listed building an interesting piece of architecture. The interior space is massive, with a full upstairs and many individual rooms with plenty of tables and chairs. Their large menu features Irish classics and other pub food, with decent value and portion sizes. The many TVs were a turn-off for us, but would appeal to those wanting to catch some live sport, and a sandwich board outside even promises broadcasts of Gaelic football and hurling.
While the atmosphere is comfortable, O’Neill’s disappointed us in their beer selection. In addition to Guinness, Caffrey’s and Smithwick’s on draught, they had just three hand-pulled local ales (and one of those taps was off when we visited). Beyond that, their bottle selection is poor, with Peroni and Tiger being the only lagers we would find remotely palatable. So while this is a good spot to visit if you’ve got a hankering for an Irish breakfast or sausages & colcannon, you should keep moving if you’re in search of an interesting pint.