Finding Flannery Pubs Intensifies in Limerick

I began walking out of Cork with Limerick on my mind and the half dozen Flannery pubs I was told I'd find there. It had become my mission to visit every pub in Ireland bearing my last name, by this point a popular radio show had interviewed me and was following my progress, as well some people had phoned in revealing where more of these Flannery bars could be found. Limerick sounded like the epicenter.

My trip to Ireland was about more than just sipping Guinness with potentially long-lost Flannery kin, if you can believe it, I also wanted to take in the beauty of the countryside and see all that I could. Between Cork and Limerick I was told the southwest of Ireland would be a worth detour, so that's where I pointed myself.

The day started with lot's of walking, but finally I got a short ride to start the day, then another short ride and even a ride from a pub owner who'd heard me on the radio. A group of quiet Polish guys was my next ride and finally a friendly couple that got me into Kilarney. I meandered around town finding some fish and chips before continuing on.

The ring of Kerry was the area I was in now, I walked out of town, found a path to a nice little lake, then back to the road where I hitched a ride from an older guy with a scrunched up face, we shipped around the curves together as the beautiful mountainous scenery started to expose itself.

After him a woman and a beautiful girl gave me a ride, overly impressed with my past as being an audio engineer. They offered me a place to stay for the night, which was tempting, but the day was young and things were just starting to get good.

A couple heading to a concert gave me a ride to the next town, then I walked myself back into the country and got a ride form an older guy telling me about some family drama with a cow. I walked a bit as a guy passed me twice before deciding to pick me up. He was curious about traveling in general, then invited me to join him at a bar on the beach just up the road.

I happily joined him as a beer turned into several as I met different people there. I talked wo a French girl for a good while, she was acting as a nanny for some family there. I made the rounds, some people smoked me out, others bought rounds and we carried on.

Eventually it was getting late, dark already, I got a recommendation on a beach I could maybe camp on and I gathered my bag with a buzz and got back on my feet. I never found the beach, instead a car stopped in the dark for me. The girl inside took me just a couple minutes further down the road to an abandoned hotel overlooking the sea, I set up my bivy on the cliff I made camp for the night there.

In the wet morning I got back to the road where a lady scooped me out of the rain, getting us some coffee as we cruised a little while. The next ride was from a guy who used to work on chimneys in Iran for nuclear facilities. After that was a drunk couple with another drunk in the backseat. They invited me to the pub and I couldn't refuse.

They bought be several pints as the girl went on about muff diving and being on the rag and "jizz everywhere" as she tried to string together a story about her morning, cackling and giggling and throwing back beers.

I'd gotten my fix and left them to it, I found a sunny spot where I could properly dry out some of my gear while waiting on the next ride. The very same couple came along and gave me a ride just a bit further, then some Australians heading to Dingle gave me a ride, I opted to hop out at this South Pole Inn to grab a beer, then hitched a ride from a Scottish guy into Dingle myself.

I looped around town exploring for a bit, then walked on out hitching a ride up the pass from a German vacation couple to a good view point a short and steep walk up he hill.

I got about four more rides from there now heading directly towards Limerick. I was on the highway as it was getting dark and my mindset was switching from "get a ride" to "find a place to camp". Before I found a place to camp, though, the ride came.

It was a guy named Dennis, this day was his 52nd birthday and he was heading straight to Limerick. As we cruised we picked up some girl hitchhiking, it was immediately apparent that she was on meth or some such, but she was only going about 5 minutes up the road.

When we got to Limerick Dennis dropped me off directly at Jerry Flannery's bar, the well known rugby player's pub who I'd spoken to on the radio. Dennis also gave me his phone number saying I could potentially spend the night at his place.

I popped inside Flannery's excited, but I was just about alone in there. The bartender poured me a Guinness and informed me that Jerry was out of town for a while. I sipped my Guinness anyways in the dark lounge of a pub, eventually calling Dennis who confirmed I could stay at his place.

I met one of his daughters and chatted over tea at his big house just outside of Limerick, then had a room to myself to sleep for the night.

They dropped me off downtown in the morning, I was eager to explore the rest of the Flannery pubs in the city. After just general rambling to see other parts of the city I headed to the big Flannery bar.

The bartender poured me a Guinness and we got to talking. In the next room he showed me a showcase full of old Guinness bottles with the Flannery name inscribed on them, as they used to do, also there were old news clippings about the bar over the years and a great deal of history.

Eventually the owner came down, aware of me from the radio, in his hand he had a Flannery t-shirt for me. We laughed and chatted for a while, he had o get back to work, but he told the bartender to go ahead pour me a whiskey tasting as well.

In the mix of this a beer rep arrived from a craft brewery walled White Gypsy to clean the lines. As he cleaned the lines I chatted craft beer with him and he poured me free pints of his brew as he told me about his hop growing experiment and the slowly rising Ireland craft beer scene.

Another Flannery came in during this mix, it was then that I learned there was a total of six Flannery bars in and around Limerick all run by the extended Flannery family. So, feeling buzzed from both beer, whiskey and good conversation I meandered on over to Pat's bar next, the other Flannery who'd popped in.

I had myself a pint of Guinness there, but by this time I was due to meet up with my arranged Couchsurfing host. She picked me up with her son, we got some food and headed back to her house in the countryside chatting until sleep was the thing.

She dropped me off back in town in the morning, I walked around some castle and other places for a bit, but I soon I wanted to get back to my Flannery mission.

I headed to the Flannery on Shannon, they too had heard me from the radio and eagerly shook my hand and grabbed a Flannery t-shirt and poured me a Flannery stout. A lady Flannery came out with a phone book so I could marvel at the list of Flannerys there, they even had a Flannery branded whiskey to generously share with me, taking my picture outside the pub and pouring me another stout before I had to keep moving.

I was loving it.

I visited one more Flannery pub before my host picked me up again. As it turned out the last Flannery pub was just out of town in the country and only a short walk from my host's house, so she dropped me off there on the way back. I had a couple pints there talking to the Flannery owner, behind the pub in the little village were Flannery gravestones and on the walls were more Flannery signs and news clippings. They sent me off with Flannery post cards and pens and I walked buzzingly back to my host's place for the night.

The next morning I was dropped back off in town, now with my backpack ready to move on from Limerick. There was one last order of business, however. The radio station had been reading my updates on the air and all of this got the attention of the Irish Independent, the big newspaper in the country, so they'd gotten in touch and arranged for a photographer to come and meet me in the city to accompany and interview they planned for the paper.

I went back to the big Flannery's where an Irish coffee awaited me. The photographer arrived and snapped my picture by the bar, out front and with the owner as I sipped a couple pints of Guinness, for the photos of course...

Now, with my pack full of t-shirts and other Flannery shwag, my blood coursing with with whiskey and Guinness, it was time to keep moving. There was more Ireland to see, more Flannery bars to see and more Guinness to inspect. My thumb would guide me, off I went to keep the adventure kicking.

May 25, 2015 to May 28, 2015


  1. What weighed more, the extra shirts, or the Guinness in your belly.

    1. By far it was the Guinness, and I'm totally cool with that!


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