Irish coffee is traditional coffee mixed with Irish whiskey and sugar, topped with cream and served hot. CIE Tours suggests these five top locations in Ireland to enjoy this classic cocktail.
A tug boat at Foynes harbour in Ireland
5. BACK TO THE BEGINNING: WHERE IRISH COFFEE GOT ITS START
Did you know that Foynes, once an airbase for transatlantic flights, is the birthplace of Irish coffee and that these two facts are intertwined? One wintry night in 1943, a Pan Am headed to New York had to turn back to Foynes due to bad weather. A local chef, Joe Sheridan, was asked to make hot food and drinks for the freezing passengers. Not only wanting to warm them up but also pep them up, Sheridan added Irish whiskey into their coffees and topped it with cream.
Today, when in Foynes you can visit the Flying Boat Museum to enjoy the history of aviation and the story of its role in the creation of the famed beverage.
Slieve League, Irelands highest sea cliffs, located in south west Donegal
4. COFFEE WITH A SCENIC VIEW
Ireland boasts the highest sea cliffs in Europe - the more remote and scenic Slieve League. Three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League offers panoramic views that reach even as far as the mountains of Mayo. While visiting here, be sure to grab an Irish coffee, pick a spectacular spot where you can gaze out over the Atlantic, and enjoy your drink as you feel the sea breeze in your hair and the sun on your face.
Hazy afternoon near Annascaul, Ireland
3. SAVOR THE FLAVORS AND TALES OF ADVENTURE
Visit the historic South Pole Inn in Annascaul and you can hear the adventurous tales of its former owner Tom Crean while sipping your Irish Coffee. Crean, a native of the village, left home at 15 to join the Royal Navy. In his twenties, he made his first visit to the Antarctic, along with Robert Scott. Hear all about his three journeys to Antarctica with both Scott and Shackleton, including heroic exploits that saved the lives of his fellow explorers. Enjoy all the pictures and memorabilia on the walls highlighting his life before he came back to his home village to spend the rest of his days running this pub.
2. SIP AND SING
Dungarvan’s Marine Bar may be one of the most entertaining spots to sip an Irish coffee. Enjoy the cozy peat fireplace and tap your toe to traditional music. This bar got it’s start as a stop for thirsty British Marines before becoming a popular stop along the famed Bianconi Stagecoach line. Now owned by musician Christy O’Neill, the bar is lively and atmospheric and you may just get invited to sing along.
View of the river Shannon, the bridge, the parish church of Ss. Peter and Paul and the castle in the village of Athlone, Ireland
1. TASTE THE OLD WORLD CHARM
Sean’s Bar may be one of the best places to enjoy an Irish coffee, and it definitely wins the title of oldest. Located on the banks of the River Shannon in Athlone, this pub dates back to 900 AD. And, The Guinness Book of Records has made it official: Sean's Bar is the oldest pub in Europe. In fact, no older pub has been found in the entire world. Admire an array of ancient artifacts that cover the walls of the pub while you enjoy your Irish coffee. What better way to spend time than listening to the friendly bartenders tell the story of the pub?
Declan Delaney of Sean's Bar has generously shared his recipe for the perfect Sean's Bar Irish Coffee:
- A bottle of Sean’s Specially Blended Irish Whiskey
- Freshly Brewed Coffee
- Brown Sugar
- Double Whipped Cream
- Heat your glass
- Add a measure of Sean's Specially Blended Irish Whiskey
- Add a teaspoon of brown sugar
- Pour in your freshly brewed coffee and fill 3/4 of the glass
- Stir all ingredients together
- Using a spoon, carefully float the lightly whipped cream on top of the coffee
A FEW TIPS:
- Only use a premium blend of Irish Whiskey.
- Ensure the Coffee is strong.
- Cream must be freshly whipped and not too thick. The cream must flow off the spoon.