Dublin – Silver Penny (Wetherspoons in the European Union)

Although I’ve been in a JD Wetherspoon operated outlet in Belfast, I’ve never visited one in the Republic of Ireland or in the European Union (not that they have any other than in Ireland). This is a relatively new opening (July 2019) which is located just off of O’Connell Street and a few minutes from our hotel. Given that it was getting late by the time we arrived at the hotel, this seemed like the most convenient to start the weekend off with.

I’ll just pinch the pub’s own history as to why it has its name:

“Irish coinage can be traced back over a thousand years to around AD995. These early ‘hammered’ coins were made from silver by striking a coin blank between two hand-cut dies. The silver pennies were produced for the Scandinavian King of Dublin, Sigtrygg II, also known as Sigtrygg Silkbeard. The silver pennies bore the king’s head and name, along with the word ‘Dyflin’ for Dublin.”

There was a short queue to get in and it enabled us to work out what the current situation is with regards to pubs in the country. In short, they need to see evidence of the NHS PDF download showing that we’d had both vaccines, as well as identification to show that we were the people listed on the download. Liam, who had forgotten his mask, was provided with one by the pub, before we were then walked over to our table. A perfectly efficient little operation, although I think these rules are all being swept away next week.

These photos don’t really capture the building very well, but they’re the best that I have and so they’ll have to do. JD Wetherspoon have converted two buildings and joined them together to open this pub, one half is a former church and the other half is a former bank.

Liam in the main bar area. The pub is only taking orders via the app at the moment, with the pricing being broadly in line with London prices for food and drink. I was surprised just how little localisation has taken place for the Irish market though, it’s nearly exactly the same menu. The relatively low prices for Dublin did though appear to be popular with locals and visitors, so I can see why JD Wetherspoon are investing so much money in the country.

Wetherspoons don’t sell Guinness in Dublin, but they do sell Beamish and I’m just as content at that. Our drinks arrived after around ten minutes and then there was quite a lot of nothing going on in terms of staff bringing food out.

After forty minutes I thought that I’d meander over to the bar and in my very politest way ask if there was a delay on food, pretending I hadn’t seen the app estimate that food orders were taking under ten minutes. It was quickly concluded by the manager that there was no delay and our order had been lost somewhere. In all fairness, a replacement was delivered to the table promptly and the manager came over and got us a free pint each as this. I’m easily pleased, and very much liked this gesture. The chicken wrap with chips was more generously filled than it usually is in the UK, although I’m not intending to count the chips as in the now infamous Facebook group that is Wetherspoons Paltry Chip Count….

All told, I thought that this was a decent transformation into a pub, with the staff always being helpful. The losing the food wasn’t entirely ideal, but they were friendly in resolving the situation. I suspect that JD Wetherspoon will be successful in Dublin, if nothing else just because of their low pricing.