Our first Christmas in Dublin and we were super excited to see the city light up for Christmas. The lights, decorations, everyone goes all out and we have waited for an Irish Christmas for so long! And one of the new Christmas traditions we have been introduced to is the 12 Pubs of Christmas Pub Crawl.
It’s a tradition that arguably began in 1991 in Dublin where people travel in groups between 12 pubs (And rarely hard to find 12 neighboring pubs in Dublin, or most of Ireland really). You have to finish a drink at each bar and there are different rules to follow at each bar as well. Over the years it has become extremely popular not just in Ireland, but the UK and even parts of the US and Australia.
In Ireland in the weekends leading up to Christmas, you will see the pubs packed with these groups.
They are very hard to miss.
Groups wear matching clothes, Santa hats, Christmas Jumpers and tend to be at a slightly elevated level of inebriation. As anyone would be by their 9th pint of beer.
The tradition in general gets pretty sloppy, especially when a small pub is packed to the ceiling with pub crawlers. So some pubs decide to opt out of the tradition and put signs up against it. And others are strict on entry if they think you’re doing a pub crawl. So if you’re moving in smaller groups, and don’t wear matching Christmas jumpers, it’s definitely easier to be more stealth about it and get into the bars you want to see!
Most of our friends were out of town or still hungover from the Friday night so Larry and I started on our own with plans to join other groups throughout the night. Which we did! We joined some Irish guys and another German group.
So our plan of attack. 12 Pubs up Camden Street, a major bar street in Dublin, but more local bars, less tourists, and better beer prices. And a super easy track.
We did The Bleeding Horse, Cassidy’s, Camden Exchange, Devitt’s, Whelan’s, Against the Grain, Karma Stone, Capitol Lounge, Hogan’s, Chelsea Drugstore, Stag’s Head and The George!
And the rules we chose per bar:
- No Pointing
- Left Hand Only
- Right Hand Only
- No Saying Names
- No Swearing
- Have Drink in the Bathroom
- Can’t Serve Your Own Drink
- Walk Backwards Between Bars
- Selfie with Strangers
- Switch Shoes
- Sing a Christmas Carol
And if you don’t do one of them correctly or if you make a mistake you need to take a drink or do a shot. We just made sure not to screw up haha. And we broke up our drinks a bit. And for the love of God drinks some water! Some purists say you need to have a pint of beer at each bar but you need to make sure to have fun too and not get COMPLETELY obliterated if it means not finishing the full 12. We had some vodkas and gins in between pint bars, some shots and maybe a half pint or too.
But we did it! We started at 5 pm and because we stayed with small groups and moved quickly early on before bars got to busy, we finished all 12 by just 10:30! And still had the gumption to trek on afterwards!
We met some hilarious people along the way, especially the 12 pubs purists who have been doing this since they were 18! The town is completely alive with Christmas spirit….or Christmas spirits, well into the wee hours of the weekend mornings all December long! And most bars give out free branded Santa hats for that extra bit of Christmas flare.
Now our benchmark is set for next year! We are prepared for round 2. And we have all year to practice!!
To see how we did, watch our progress below:
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Chris and Larry
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