What makes a busy pub? – The Cobblestone 

This little tavern, painted in a rustic dark green, stretches across a corner in Smithfield and has become one of the busiest pubs on this side of the Liffey. Every night their opened the Cobblestone is packed to the brim with skilled musicians and skilled drinkers. Everyone is welcome in to enjoy an authentic Irish pub experience. 

Photo taken in Smithfeild by Jack McGovern

The pub is regarded as the home of “trad” music in Dublin; performers like The Chieftains and singer Mary Black, who both performed there once with none other than actor Steve Martin on the banjo, as well as late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, Actor Billy Connolly who shot part of a documentary there, and Manu Chao, the pioneer of Latin alternative music, are just a few of the big names who have been there or performed which all add to the global appeal of Irish trad music. 

This family-run business is managed by Tom Mulligan. Music has been a strong theme in the Mulligan family for the past five generations, which is as far back as they can remember. But Tom’s genuine love for music and his strong passion for sharing it makes this pub a welcoming one to all. Patryk Lucaszewski a Polish native who has lived in Dublin for ten years now and has been coming to the Cobblestone since a friend told him what a great music venue it was, which was around 5 years ago now. 

 “When I arrived at the Cobblestone pub for the first time, it looked like it was closed until I got closer, and I heard the music.” 

“When I opened the door, I got a blast of Irish tunes to the face, so many people in the room with all sorts of instruments.” 

“Despite not being an Irish man, in there (the Cobblestone) listening to the music with my Guinness I do a little bit,” Lucaszewski said.

Inside the pub is like a trip back in time when most of the pubs and bars in Dublin are working tirelessly to be modern and in fashion. This pub looks like a traditional pub you would find in the depths of the countryside, its dark red walls almost all completely covered in different music themed art pieces, posters for upcoming music events and pictures of important Irish people as well as local legends. The bar itself is an old dark wooden base surrounded by stools and thirsty customers with all the old-school taps on display.  

Notoriously, in 2021, the beloved bar was at risk of closing its doors for good due to plans to knock down much of the tavern and build a hotel in its place. This news upset so many people, including many passionate musicians who love nothing more than to get together with similar minded people and perform their music as well as listen to others. 

However, when news broke about what was happening to the Cobblestone it sparked outrage among locals and heritage lovers. Mulligan told the Guardian that it “galvanised a lot of people, because it was a kind of breaking point” the people who were moved by this news felt as if there was an accumulation of these situations and it was damaging Irish heritage in Dublin, there was protests on the streets of Dublin.

All this commotion was certainly worth it because when the city council made their decision, they could not ignore the 700 objections submitted in favour of keeping the Cobblestone the way it was and ultimately the planning permission for the hotel was denied. The Cobblestone ended up benefitting from it because by rallying all these people to fight against commercial expansion it created a stronger sense of community by fighting to keep the doors open which in turn gives the customers a sense of ownership that makes them feel part of the famous pub. 

To find out more about the various events and performances happening at Cobblestone, visit for more information. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *