The Gravediggers

March 26, 2010


I was recently dragged down Baggot Street, kicking, screaming and cursing my colleagues for signing me up to one of those horrid 12 Pints of Christmas thingies. Stepping over the vomit laced dregs of society, making their annual trip out of the suburbs to whoop it up at their work Christmas dos, I wished desperately that I was wrapped up safe and sound in the comfort of my local boozer.

Free of the paradoxical drink promotions that give you bang for buck but leave you more than a little crooked when morning, like you, has broken. Free of the wretched rebel anthems that would sour the milk in ones tit and whose sentiment is seriously undermined by the fact its delivered by an 18 stone west Brit in a Manchester United jersey. And free of the underlying fear that in any given minute my night or my life can  be brought to an untimely end by any one of the cretins-or their sun hags- who seem determined to prove our Minister for Justice’s belief that we are incapable of enjoying a good night sensibly.

Devoid of a television set and any form of music, its the gift of the gab one is left with to build an evenings entertainment at John Kavanagh’s in Glasnevin aka The Gravediggers. Age 50 and over the majority of the locals can certainly spin a yarn and bring to life a Dublin not seen since the rare auld times. But plenty of young ones too frequent the Northsides oldest family run watering hole, renowned for its spectacular pint of the black stuff. At e4.13 its also one of the cheapest.

Its not the easiest place to find, tucked away off the beat in track  in the middle of a residential area. However it is well serviced by a number of different bus routes(40/A/B/C/D,140, 19/A, 83, 13/A). It’s situated next to the old entrance to the Glasnevin cemetery, and right behind the Botanic Gardens, giving you two further reasons to visit one of Dublin’s most salubrious suburbs. But if you bring the rugrats, bare in mind that you must have them of the premises by 7PM.

Featured in several Irish movies and advertisements( including My Left Foot and The Commitments) its a pub steeped in tradition. Its been in the Kavanagh family for six generations and the back lounge has managed to hold onto much of the rustic charm that made it a hit when it first opened its doors in 1833.With saloon doors, wooden tables and large benches its best visited on a Friday evening when its hopping with the after work crowd, though there are a steady stream of regulars who can be seen propping up the bar no matter when you drop by.

It gets its nickname by proxy of the workmen who used to bang their shovels off the wall when they wanted a pint-which they then shoved in through a hole in the wall, where a barman placed a jar of stout on them so they could take them with them when they  returned to work, bringing into existence that old Dublin colloquialism “Going for a jar”.

There isn’t a vast amount of choice when it comes to the alcohol (I was laughed at when I asked for a Tequila) and payment must be by cash only (no laser) but ironically the larger front lounge has a terrific tapas menu, written up daily on a blackboard. It’s only available Monday to Friday but it’s a refreshing alternative to the dull, flavourless pub grub offered by some of their local rivals.

And last, but by no means least, there is the terrific front green where on bright sunny days you can while away the hours sipping your pint and enjoying one of the finest front gardens offered by any pub in the city.

Its just far enough away from town and difficult enough to find to save it from being over run by the same hipsters who taint the Long Haul and other such establishments and with its mix of tourists and locals it’s a guaranteed good time, perfect to ease you into the weekends festivities.

The Gravediggers

1 Prospect Square , Glasnevin Telephone:

01 830 7978

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