A pint of Guinness now costs nearly €9 in some Dublin pubs, while punters in Waterford can get one for as little as €4.50.
As massive crowds descend on the capital today and raise a glass to our patron saint, they would be wise to check the prices in the bars they choose.
The Irish Independent surveyed 100 pubs in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Drogheda and found the priciest pint was in The Temple Bar pub in the tourist hotspot of the same name.
A pint of the black stuff will set you back €8.95 – €1.35 more than a year ago.
In Waterford city, the Exchange Bar is charging customers €4.50 for a pint of Guinness, but raises the price by 30c from 7pm on weekdays and weekends when a band is entertaining customers. This was the cheapest pint in our survey.
According to our findings, a pint of Guinness in Dublin city costs an average €6.40. Yet those willing to travel just over a kilometre from Temple Bar to Smithfield will find a much cheaper option – the Cobblestone pub is serving a pint for €5.80.
Publican Tom Mulligan said: “We decided we’d take some slack ourselves because everything has gone up for everyone.
Tourists are a mainstay because we have such a good name for Irish music and culture
“We’re watching pubs around here close down on a Monday and Tuesday night, or in the daytime.
“Some pubs are opening Wednesday to Sunday or from Thursday to Sunday.
“We don’t want to see that happen here. We have staff to look after.
“Tourists are a mainstay because we have such a good name for Irish music and culture.”
Tourists have been complaining to Mr Mulligan about the “very expensive” prices in bars “on the other side of the Liffey”, he said.
Some pubs blamed the price hikes on inflation and a recent increase by Diageo – the international brewing and distilling giant added 12c to a pint of Guinness.
A Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) spokesperson said that as a trade association, competition rules prevented it from having a role in relation to pricing.
However, the group added that it expected “to see the busiest St Patrick’s Day in Dublin since 2019, boosted by the increased international tourism in the capital this year, including a strong cohort of visitors from the US”.
We had to put the price of a pint up because the cost of buying it went up in February, and with Vat and a profit margin to think about, there was no choice
The great value in Waterford was unmatched in any other city or town we surveyed – no other pub offered a pint of Guinness for under €5.
Last March, five of the same areas surveyed, apart from Dublin, were still selling a pint of Guinness with change from a fiver.
One Cork city pub worker said: “We had to put the price of a pint up because the cost of buying it went up in February, and with Vat and a profit margin to think about, there was no choice. People just don’t go out midweek any more.”
A staff member in a Limerick city pub that charges €5.40 for a pint of Guinness said that while they were “kept busy”, they are struggling with inflation.
Another Limerick city publican defended local prices, with a spokesperson saying: “Compared with many places in Ireland, Limerick is good value.”
In Galway city, a bar charging €5.80 for a pint had been forced to increase its prices after giving staff a 7pc cost-of-living wage increase last October.
“This, and offering live music, combined with inflation” had meant prices had to go up, said the owner, who described his energy bills as “astronomical”.
While Waterford is the home of the cheapest pint, one publican in the city who charged €5.50 said there have been “too many challenges” in the bar trade since the pandemic.
The Americans will still want to come for the Irish pub and an Irish music session, so more has to be done to preserve that
“Covid hastened the end of the Irish pub,” he said. “People have stopped going out midweek. We’re closed Monday and Tuesday. City pubs are shortening their hours and country pubs are closing.
“My family’s been in the pub trade for 50 years and it’s in terminal decline. “Pubs are struggling with inflation, but culture has changed after the pandemic. We keep plugging away, but people have to understand why prices have gone up.
“The Americans will still want to come for the Irish pub and an Irish music session, so more has to be done to preserve that.”
In January, a Diageo spokesperson referring to a price increase said: “Like many businesses in Ireland, we’re facing significant inflation in input costs across our operations.
“We have absorbed these costs for as long as possible, but unfortunately, we can no longer continue to do so.
“As a result, we have written to our customers in the on-trade to advise them of an increase on our draught beer list prices of 12 cent per pint, exclusive of Vat.”
That increase was applied across the whole Diageo draught beer range and took effect on February 1.
The Temple Bar pub declined to comment when contacted by the Irish Independent.
If you know of any pubs around the country serving pints of Guinness that are even cheaper or more expensive than those mentioned, email: email@example.com