Like getting bumped on the streets of New York or being the victim of haughtiness in Paris, you cannot fully experience Dublin without spending at least some of your time here in a pub. The city may have gone through some pretty dramatic changes over the last few years, but the pub remains the heart of its social existence, the broadest window through which you can examine and experience the very essence of the city’s culture, in all its myriad forms. It’s the great leveller where status and rank hold no sway, where generation gaps are bridged, inhibitions lowered, tongues loosened, schemes hatched, songs sung, stories told and gossip embroidered. It’s a unique institution: a theatre and a cosy room, a centre stage and a hideaway, a debating chamber and a place for silent contemplation. It’s whatever you want it to be, and that’s the secret of the great Irish pub.