Johnnie Foxes is located in Glencullen, a small sleepy village in the southern suburbs of Dublin, perched high on the top of the Dublin Mountains.
It makes great emphasis of the fact that it is the “highest pub in Ireland” but this is not strictly true, as there is a place on the Beara Peninsula called “The Top of the Coomb” that is higher still.
That said, Johnnie Foxes is an Irish institution, and is renowned throughout the world both for the food in its excellent restaurant, and for the “mighty crack” (fun) that is to be enjoyed at its Irish “hooley nights”.
Foxes is the original Irish boozer that all others throughout the world try so desperately to copy. Built about 1750, many of the original fixtures and fittings are still in place!
From the moment you arrive, you realize straight away that this place is something special. The outside is decorated with all types of old fashioned engraved enamel signs, (original, off course) there is an old traditional Irish country shop and Post Office, and an assortment of old wheelbarrows and farming implements.
Walk through the front door and you are met with a scene that could have come from the 1800’s, with old rickety chairs and tables (few of which match), and old wooden benches pulled up in front of roaring peat and log fires. (None of your fake modern gas ones here!)The ceilings are all oak beamed, and the floor is covered in a layer of lovely smelling fresh sawdust.
Old pictures, antiques and memorabilia line all the walls; pictures, photographs, strange looking tools and implements, (used for God knows what) old cigarette packets, jugs and bottles, and, off course, pictures of Ireland’s most famous son, John F. Kennedy.
The whole place fairly hums, with bar boys and waiters at every turn, organizing the seating for you, and making sure that your every whim is answered on request.
The interior is sectioned off into three areas. You have the main bar, the large hall off it where the “hooley” sessions take place, and the restaurant.
The “hooley” sessions take place every night of the week.
There is the usual Irish folk and country bands, (usually very good) and they even have their own mini version of “Riverdance”, with an assortment of Irish dancers jigging around for your entertainment. If all this sounds very “touristy” it’s because it is. The place is invariably packed to the doors with visitors from every corner of the globe, but don’t let this put you off. It is truly Irish, and unquestionably the “real thing”, which is the main reason for its continued popularity and high reputation.
The restaurant is called the “Famous Seafood Kitchen”.
This may seem a bit strange for a place situated so high in the mountains, but you must remember that you are never very far from the water in the “Emerald Isle”.
You can, off course, choose from a very extensive menu, but my advice would be to stick with the fish in any of its various forms, as this is what Foxes do best.
The odd strange delicacy is thrown in to tempt you, such as alligator steaks and fresh Beluga Caviar with blinis. (At over 100 a pop!)There is an extensive (and expensive) wine list as well, if you are not content to stick with the Guinness.
The price of a good meal here will usually be about 75 per head, which may or may not seem expensive depending on your wallet, but is not unreasonable as Irish prices go.
Johnnie Foxes is one of the most popular bar/restaurants in the whole of Ireland.
I’ve lost count of the number of tourists I’ve ferried up to here in my taxi, and at a fare of about 40 it’s been fairly lucrative for me over the years. (My email is on my profile if you want to book your taxi!)
Try it if you get the chance. I guarantee you a night to remember.
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