Having taken up residence in Drumcondra a few months ago, I’ve been keen to get better acquainted with d’area, and not just the off-licence and Tesco. Fagan’s is a name I’d heard mentioned over the years, as an extended limb of Bertie Ahern’s constituency office. I was interested to sop up what I hoped would be an atmosphere of political elbow-rubbing. Pints of Bass all round, so, as Fagan’s is one of the few bars in Dublin still with it on tap – the only other place I know is Dalymount Park, which would mean drinking with a load of yucky Bohemian’s fans (Shels 4 lyf).
Bass came to typify Bertie and his upwardly mobile (and not-so-upwardly mobile) North Side constituency, a link – along with his love of Manchester United – that he had with ‘the common people’. Little known fact? Bass is actually an English lager. The horror!
My actual thirst quenched, I was still parched of the hangover of political intrigue that once inhabited Fagan’s, and remain so. Their website invites you “experience the ambiance of home while still in the heart of the city of Dublin.” Well, only if you’re home has framed pictures of Pierce Brosnan. The pub is littered with framed pictures – they seem pretty happy about all the mega famous people who have stopped by. Conspicuously, Bertie’s visage is not featured on the website [maybe go over and check the pictures for reals, would be better than saying something about the website], although the equally salubrious Haughey remains.
Bertie’s Fagan’s was eerily quiet for a Dublin pub on a Friday evening. Granted, we didn’t stay for the night, but this seems to be the kind of place that is rarely jammers – except for matches – but enjoys a slow trickle of Drumcondra regulars.
It makes of an oddly disjointed pint in the area. Aside from there being no bacon fries (outraged gasp!), the décor is oddly hotel bar-y, with those fin-de-siècle-ish statues of ladies holding lamps that have spread like a rash throughout Dublin’s ‘genteel’/middle-class watering holes, and a high ceiling that makes you feel as if you’re in the bowels of a very nice ship. That is, until you sit down in the snug, which is just three small, round tables, beneath what seems to be a fake, terracotta-coloured stucco ceiling.
At worst, it’s inoffensive. At best, it’s inoffensive. It’s difficult to divorce the pub from the man – no matter how much they’ve tried, in the minds of most Dubliners it’s still ‘Bertie’s local’.
146 Lwr Drumcondra Rd, D9
01 837 5309
Words: Zoe Jellicoe