The position of the Lincoln’s Inn in Dublin pub lore has been long since established. Though it’s popularity as a city-centre lubrication stop has waned somewhat in the last few years, leading it to be shuttered for a time with the then-owners moving on to pastures new. Lincoln’s retains its lofty reputation not for whatever contemporary action it host but through it’s association with the romanticised Dublin of yore.
Lincoln’s makes up part of what was formerly Finn’s Hotel, a 12-room auberge where, in 1904, one of its chambermaids, a no-nonsense Galway woman caught the eye of a patron, a mustachioed ne’er-do-well in plimsolls she apparently first mistook for a Scandinavian seaman. This Victorian meetcute proved to be a landmark moment in both Irish literary history and cheek-reddening erotic correspondence alike as the chambermaid in question, one Nora Barnacle, went on to romance and eventually marry this sartorially adventurous admirer, one James Joyce.
It goes without saying that both Joyce and any location deemed to be one of the remaining vestiges of “Joyce’s Dublin” breeds a particularly potent brand of obsession. Flocks of devotees, both local and from further afield, flock to spots like this one in the hope of immersing themselves in a fading, sentimentalised and arguably aggrandised Dublin of yesteryear. To the credit of the new owners, the same folks behind Becky Morgan’s amongst others, they have refrained from laying on the “C’mere to me auld Dublin” schtick too thick.
The only on-the-nose appeals to the location’s historical significance being a plaque commemorating the service of their former employee and a trio of beers on tap, brewed by the same people as MacGargles, billed Joyce’s Stout, Bloomsday Lager and Nora Barnacle’s Red Ale. These unique tipples prove to be a welcome addition as all three clock in at but a fiver, very reasonable for a “craft beer” in such a central location.
The dark wood, antique frames, gold fixtures and original coving appeal to a certain old Europe sensibly without totally over-egging the whole endeavor. Our young, somewhat overworked bartender provides table service with a smile and ambiance is convivial if not cosy with half the seating having been given over to tables for two, which seems like something of a misuse of space, or possibly that the new proprietors are hoping to land another future literary giant in a date situation. Ultimately Lincoln’s succeeds in providing not only a reputable refueling stop for a Joycean walking tour patrons but a perfectly reasonable spot for the less high-minded barflies among us.
The Lincoln’s Inn
19 Lincoln Place, Dublin 2
t: 01 6762044
Words: Danny Wilson
Photos: Killian Broderick