The Northwest

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Northwest - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Hargadons Bar

    Part of the social fabric of Sligo since 1868, Hargadons Bar preserves its unique historic character and maintains high standards in a much-loved institution. Wood...

    Part of the social fabric of Sligo since 1868, Hargadons Bar preserves its unique historic character and maintains high standards in a much-loved institution. Wood paneling, cozy snugs (small booths) for private powwows, marble-top counters, and little glass doors on hinges make this place especially conducive to that intangible Irish element, the craic. Check out the walls, covered with historical black-and-white photos as well as fading invoices from the bar's early days. Hearty food at great prices is served at lunchtime (12:30–3:30 pm) and the evening dinner menu (4–9 pm), featuring oysters, mussels, salmon, steak sandwiches, or chicken wings, lists local suppliers. The bar specializes in Irish craft beers with Andersons from Sligo and the White Hag from Ballymote among a wide selection. On Friday night, Irish traditional musicians often hold center stage, followed by a bluegrass group. On Saturday night you may hear country-rock, pop, or folk music. Walk through the bar and in separate premises at the back you will find the well-stocked Hargadons Wine Shop in Johnston Court.

    4–5 O'Connell St., Sligo, Co. Sligo, Ireland
    071-915–3709
  • 2. Dicey Reilly's

    “Dicey’s," as the locals call it, has been selling beer in a variety of forms since 1856. Also noted for its selection of quality wines...

    “Dicey’s," as the locals call it, has been selling beer in a variety of forms since 1856. Also noted for its selection of quality wines from around the world, the company has branched into handcrafted beers and opened a microbrewery beside the bar. It's no surprise that Donegal Blonde, with the merest hints of biscuit and malt, and a fine balance of hop flavors, is one of its most popular beers. Other favorites are the Donegal Brewing Amber ale with fruity hops and the West Coast Pale Ale. If these aren't to your liking, there are a staggering 350 craft beers and 600 wines from which to choose. Food is served in the bar at lunchtime and in the early evenings or you could try the pop-up burger bar in the beer garden which operates on weekends from March to December. Glass cabinets hold a veritable social and cultural history of Ballyshannon, with old bus timetables and drama and music festival programs from the 1960s, while tins of Old Holborn Blended Virginia, Campbell's Tea, and Grate Polish sit side by side on shelves. Guided tours of the brewery lasting 40 minutes are held by appointment.

    Market St., Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    071-985–1371
  • 3. Nancy's Pub

    With its glowing fire, Nancy's, now in its eighth generation of the same family, makes you wonder if you've wandered into the owner's sitting room....

    With its glowing fire, Nancy's, now in its eighth generation of the same family, makes you wonder if you've wandered into the owner's sitting room. The walls are filled with framed black-and-white photographs of the family and of old Ardara. Seafood, in the form of chowder, oysters, prawns, and mussels, dominates the menu served noon to 9 year-round. Ask for the house special, the Louis Armstrong sandwich, which consists of "jazzed-up" smoked salmon with grilled cheese on wheat bread. To accompany your food, try the old-fashioned, naturally fermented farmyard cider—a big hit with summer visitors. There's also live music on Friday and Saturday nights during the summer months.

    Front St., Ardara, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    074-954–1187
  • 4. Seán Óg's

    One of the largest and most popular pubs in Ballyshannon, Seán Óg's, has a DJ playing hits on Saturday evenings. On occasion, Irish traditional musicians...

    One of the largest and most popular pubs in Ballyshannon, Seán Óg's, has a DJ playing hits on Saturday evenings. On occasion, Irish traditional musicians come out to perform at this local pub.

    6 Castle St., Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    071-985–8964
  • 5. The Abbey Hotel

    Visit for music every night in July and August and live bands every Saturday night throughout the year, mostly Irish traditional, but not always....

    Visit for music every night in July and August and live bands every Saturday night throughout the year, mostly Irish traditional, but not always.

    Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    074-972–1014
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  • 6. The Corner Bar

    You'll likely find this place packed, as it features music almost every night from May to September and on weekends the rest of the year....

    You'll likely find this place packed, as it features music almost every night from May to September and on weekends the rest of the year. It's a great place to mix with locals as well.

    Ardara, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    074-954–1736
  • 7. Brennans Bar

    Closed Permanently

    An absence of TVs and the welcoming hum of conversation mark this atmospheric and unspoiled relic of old-fashioned pub culture, which existed back before watching...

    An absence of TVs and the welcoming hum of conversation mark this atmospheric and unspoiled relic of old-fashioned pub culture, which existed back before watching televised sports had become a seemingly round-the-clock pastime. Painstakingly preserved, the strength of this pub is its 20th-century alehouse nostalgia. The walls are filled with framed black-and-white photographs and old signs, one of which states: "Come as a stranger, leave as a friend." It's a place where locals, holidaymakers, and surfers congregate to create a vibe that'll entice you to stay for that second pint. Opened in 1900, it remains frozen in time and unchanged since its last makeover in 1947; the point here is people-watching and conversation. Food is not served.

    Main St., Bundoran, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    071-984–1810

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  • 8. The House Gastro Pub

    Closed Permanently

    On Friday night during the spring and summer months, acoustic guitarists entertain drinkers at the House, a 2018 addition to the town's bar and restaurant...

    On Friday night during the spring and summer months, acoustic guitarists entertain drinkers at the House, a 2018 addition to the town's bar and restaurant scene. Wine, beer, and cocktails are on the drinks menu, and small plates feature dishes such as dynamite shrimp, crab pancakes, and Tso chicken.

    Donegal Town, Co. Donegal, Ireland
    074-972–1049

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