South Pole Inn – Annascaul, Ireland

On our evening in Annascaul, after all the dust settled…or rather after we washed off all the dust from the day we chose to eat dinner at the South Pole Inn. There may have been other places to eat in town, honestly we didn’t even check. We just knew that this was the place we were going to eat.

Opened by Tom Crean and his wife Ellen around the 1920s. The pub is small and cozy, once again exactly what one would expect from an Irish Pub. Stone walls, big fire place, small wooden bar and a handful of tables. The interior is filled to the brim with information and memorbelia from Tom Crean’s life. While we were waiting for food I of course had to pick through the stack of books on the mantel.

The meal was exceptional as all of them were. We had a mix of food, curry, fish, pasta, chicken. It was all amazing. The service was quick, we lingered in the cozy atmosphere and never once felt like we were pressured to vacate even though people continued to stream in through the doors all night. Every one chatted merrily and enjoying their time. Including the baby on the floor by the fire and the toddler in the window box. It was clearly a neighbor hood place, and what a wonderful neighborhood to be in.

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Hanafin’s Pub – Annascaul, Ireland

Our first stop in Annascaul was Hanafin’s Pub. And when I say first stop I mean, we didn’t even change. We dropped our packs at our inn, changed out shoes and popped next door for celebratory drinks.

I unfortunately did not get the name of the bar tender and owner while we were there. I wish I had so I could thank him personally for his hospitality and stories. But either way, if you find yourself in the area make sure to pop in for a drink and tell him hello. As with every one we found in the area, the people we warm, the pub was charming and the drinks were perfect.

We sat in the cozy little pub for a few hours, drinking and chatting with the owner. He gave our group suggestions for after our hike was over, driving directions, hours and various places to visit. He told us colorful stories of locals, like one fellow who brings in a crop of potatoes every year to trade for his drinking allowance.
He explained to us how peat farming worked and pointed out that was how he was heating the bar (yes it was chilly enough that night for heating). We had walked past a number of farms earlier that day and just didn’t realize what it was at the time.
He introduced us to the local sport of hurling. The Annascaul team was playing on the Irish language tv channel in some sort of playoff tournament. The sport was fascinating and so much fun to watch. If we had it on tv here I might be tempted to take up watching sports for the first time in my life.

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