Ireland’s six best pubs – including one that used to accept dead birds as payment and another that got blown up by mistake

THE best pubs in Ireland include one that got blown up by mistake, a spot where you can get a pint and a new belt, and a boozer that used to accept dead birds as payment.

The Dead Rabbit's Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, from Belfast, together with Louth man and Irish whiskey expert Tim Herlihy conducted a two month-long whirlwind tour of the country in a VW bus they christened 'Poppy'.

The trio logged over 4,000 miles, visited 111 pubs in 29 counties, and every single working whiskey distillery on the island.

They have given their verdict on the cream of the crop of hostelries from all over the country in a new 272-page hardback book, 'From Barley to Blarney, a Whiskey Lover's Guide to Ireland'.

Sean recalls the inspiration for the trip and said: "We are constantly asked for our recommendations of where to go in Ireland, what to see and what to do.

"Jack knows how to make the best cocktails in the world, Tim is an Irish Whiskey encyclopaedia and I know what makes a great Irish pub.

"We chatted one night in the bar about the idea of bringing our collective wisdom together in the form of a book. But we all agreed we needed to do this right so the road trip was born."

While Jack added: "We were welcomed with open arms and treated to an insider's perspective on distilling, a preview of experimental liquids, as well as the opportunity to get to know some legendary characters."

The lads got together to exclusively choose their top six pubs from the list of 50 pubs for the Irish Sun.

They certainly disagreed about the ones that got left out. But no-one disagreed about the ones that got kept.

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Jack McGarryThe Sun