Raise a Glass to St Patrick: The Best Irish Counties For A St Patrick’s Day Feast Revealed

17th March marks St Patrick’s Day, a celebration which commemorates the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, who is credited with bringing Christianity to the country. With origins which can be traced back to the early 17th century, St Patrick’s Day has certainly evolved since its inception, with religious feasts transformed into secular celebrations of Irish culture and heritage. 

st patricks day parade

Guinness, an iconic Irish stout, has become something of a St Patrick’s Day staple. In 1759, Irish entrepreneur and philanthropist Arthur Guinness founded the Guinness brewery in Dublin. Over subsequent decades, the brewery’s success grew exponentially and, by the 20th century, Guinness had become synonymous with the Irish identity. Celebrating the patron saint of Ireland with a pint of Guinness in hand is something of a tradition, both in Ireland and among Irish communities abroad. Every year, an estimated 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed on St Patrick’s Day around the world. 

The connection between St Patrick’s Day and Ireland’s favourite stout may not be rooted in ancient heritage and tradition, but Guinness has certainly evolved into a symbol of both St Patrick’s Day and wider Irish culture. 


With this in mind, researchers at European Waterways reveal the best Irish counties to enjoy a pint of Guinness and a bite to eat as you celebrate the spirit of the Emerald Isle this St Patrick’s Day!

Our Methodology:

    1. We identified the Guinness’ best food pairings. These included beef stew, Shepherd’s pie, baked salmon, soda bread, ice cream and fish and chips
    2. We identified the number of 4* and above-rated pubs and restaurants that served both Guinness and the food which complements it the best.
    3. Each country was then assigned a number of points based on the number of highly rated pubs, seafood restaurants, and establishments offering local cuisine, forming our final ranking.

The Top 10 Counties for a Pint of Guinness this St Patrick’s Day

Map of the Best Irish Counties For A St Patrick’s Day Feast Revealed

Data Breakdown

  1. County Kerry: 220 points in total, ranked 1st for local cuisine, 1st for seafood restaurants and 1st for pubs
  2. County Clare: 204 points in total, ranked 4th for local cuisine, 3rd for seafood restaurants and 2nd for pubs
  3. County Mayo: 198 points in total, ranked 2nd for local cuisine, 4th for seafood restaurants and 3rd for pubs
  4. County Donegal: 196 points in total, ranked 3rd for local cuisine, 2nd for seafood restaurants and 5th for pubs
  5. County Louth: 169 points in total, ranked 9th for local cuisine, 6th for seafood restaurants and 4th for pubs

County Kerry

County Kerry, which is situated in the southwestern part of Ireland, seamlessly blends natural beauty, rich heritage and a vibrant pub culture, making it a must-see destination for visitors to Ireland. From experiencing the stunning scenery of Killarney National Park to indulging in family fun at the Aquadome, one of Ireland’s largest waterparks, Kerry has something for everyone.

County Kerry’s culinary scene is distinctly Irish, with fresh, locally sourced produce a staple in the majority of eateries. Seafood lovers are in for a treat, as Kerry’s coastal location ensures a bounty of the finest catches. From freshly caught Atlantic salmon to succulent Dingle Bay prawns, top-quality seafood is a testament to the region’s culinary prowess.

In Kerry, pub culture is a cornerstone of everyday social life. Live bands, roaring fires and an abundance of Guinness combine to offer an immersive experience of Irish hospitality. If you plan to visit County Kerry this St Patrick’s Day, we recommend Dick Mack’s, an old-fashioned bar located in Dingle which offers a fantastic selection of brewed on-site beers. Alternatively, check out Courtney’s in Killarney or Kate Kearney’s Cottage in the Gap of Dunloe.

County Clare

County Clare, packed with enchanting landscapes and community spirit, is a fantastic choice for travellers searching for the perfect pint of Guinness this St Patrick’s Day. Clare is something of a paradise for foodies, offering a wealth of premium-quality homegrown food and drink to visitors. From artisanal cheeses to fresh seafood and succulent meats, County Clare has it all. 

Embark on a journey through the Wild Atlantic Way, indulging in quintessentially Irish food and drink in charming villages and coastal towns along the way. In the evenings, County Clare’s pub culture truly comes alive. Kilfenora, situated in the centre of the region, is renowned as the home of traditional Ceili music. Ennis, the county town, has an assortment of lively pubs and restaurants serving culinary delights. 

If you’re looking to visit County Clare on St Paddy’s Day this year, Joseph McHugh’s Pub, in Lascannor, Keatings Bar in Kilbaha and the Greyhound Bar in Kilkee are all fantastic choices. 

County Mayo

Located on Ireland’s rugged west coast, County Mayo has long been a favourite among foodies and nature lovers alike. With a diverse landscape, rich heritage and distinctive pub culture, Mayo is a compelling destination for those seeking an authentic Irish adventure. 

Mayo’s culinary scene is deeply rooted in its proximity to the coast. Visitors to the county can indulge in locally sourced ingredients, from freshly caught Atlantic seafood to the most tender Connemara lamb – which are both fantastic when paired with Guinness. The majority of local restaurants boast farm-to-table dining, with ingredients sourced from surrounding farms and fisheries.

For a charming traditional Irish pub experience head to Westport, Lahardane or Castlebar. Matt Molloy’s, a famous Irish music venue in Westport, was recently crowned Ireland’s best pub and has played host to some of the most famous names in Irish music.

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