One of the most distinguishable features of Irish culture is the local pub, where one goes for a pint and conversation. Alex Fagen’s documentary The Irish Pub speaks to pub owners and patrons from all across across Ireland, who give their opinions on the country’s pub culture. With many traditional pubs giving in to the times and modernizing, these pub owners pride themselves for keeping the rich history of these ancient watering holes intact.
The Irish Pub begins with a quote from William Butler Yeats, which says that “there are no strangers here, only friends you have not yet met.” That quote effectively summarizes the nature of these traditional Irish pubs, which highly encourage conversation. These pubs effectively become confessionals for the patrons, where they can vent about their life’s problems.
Many of these Irish pubs have of histories dating back hundreds of years. The owners of these pubs often find themselves under pressure to renovate the pub for modern times, however doing so would end up ruining these pub’s unique character. These owners are perfectly fine leaving the pubs as they are, though they lament that the younger generation will never truly know what Irish pubs were really like.
While it may be a stereotype to associate the Irish with drinking, these pubs, and the community atmosphere they promote, still remain an important part of Ireland’s culture.
Is The Irish Pub essential festival viewing?
As someone with Irish heritage, this film made me want to just hop on a plane to Ireland and visit one (or all) of these pubs. So, by all means watch this film and treat yourself to a pint and conversation afterwards (preferably at the Irish Film Festival’s opening night party at Dora Keogh).