Ireland: Know that not all pubs are created equal

To distinguish the real gold from the sparkling pyrite, look for a qualified bar staff (a uniform of white shirt and black trouser is often a good sign you won’t be waited on by a grubby student), at least one man over 60 drinking at the bar (he should know the good bars by now, right?), no TV, and no recorded music (a pub is a place to talk).