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San Francisco, CA / Bay Area
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day trips
Irish for a Day
Theme beer / wine / spirits
Best Time For This Day Trip Spring/Summer (for Gaelic Games), Sunday (for music)
Essentials (a) light hearted spirit, (b) love for the Irish, (c) a decent liver
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When exactly is it NOT time for a pint? | photo by: CoFounder_Barton  

Posted 05/11/2011 by: CoFounder_Barton (San Francisco, California, U.S.A.; Age : 41-45)
Where’s the craic (“crack”)? This Gaelic term means fun, enjoyment and good conversation, and who doesn’t want to get in on that action? As an Irish American trying to connect with my ancestral past, I’m a junkie for all things related to the Emerald Isle, and San Francisco can offer a lot of Irish culture without the long ass flight. In fact, this city is home to such a large Irish expatriate population that it rivals New York and Boston, so naturally there are plenty of trappings from the homeland; all you have to do is look. And if you actually want to spend an ENTIRE day “being Irish”, this day trip can fill your craving and give you plenty of craic. // NOTE: To get the most Irish out of a day trip I’ve chosen Sunday for each step, but you can certainly mix and match as needed.
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1)   Title: Irish Breakfast & Gaelic Football/Hurling (tv)  
   Location/Address: Kezar Pub (770 Stanyan St/ Upper Haight)
  Time:  About 7/8am Saturday or Sunday Morning
   If you’ve never seen Gaelic Football or Hurling you’re missing out on some seriously exciting and ancient sports (www.gaa.ie). Hurling is about 2,000 years old and Gaelic football supposedly started during medieval times. Both are fast paced, with constant action and plenty of scoring. The only thing is that televised games start EARLY in the morning here, like 7 or 8 am. So, why not combine a little breakfast and start your day off right? Grab an Irish breakfast - a hearty traditional meal consisting of 2 Irish sausages, 2 rashers, 2 black pudding (sausage), 2 white pudding (sausage), hash browns, grilled tomato, 2 eggs, and wheat toast. Yeah, you’ll be full, but ready to take on the rest of the day. And if you happen to be here for the All Ireland Final, you’ll feel like the party started early. Irish folks pack in Kezar’s to watch this sport’s “super bowl”, resplendent with team colors, jerseys and a festive spirit.
2)   Title: Celtic Shopping & Irish Lunch  
   Location/Address: Union Sqaure/ Johnny Foley’s (243 O'Farrell & Cyril Magnin)
  Time:  Late Morning/ Noon
   Make your way downtown near Union Square for a little shopping before lunch. Continuing with the theme of the day trip, you can find the Irish Castle (537 Geary St. between Jones and Taylor) for various Irish odds and ends. Be sure to grab a copy of the Irish Herald so you can catch up on current affairs from the island over lunch. You might also check out Wm Glen & Son (360 Sutter St.), which focuses more on Scotland, but does carry some general Celtic items as well as a few Irish ones too. // And after you do a bit more shopping in Union Square it’s time for pint! (When isn’t it…?) So head over to the classic Irish pub, Johnny Foley’s (243 O'Farrell & Cyril Magnin). They serve one of the better pints in the city and offer a pretty decent and varied menu. If you’re sticking to the traditional pub grub, try their Beef & Guinness Soup, Fish & Chips or Cottage Pie – all quite good.
3)   Title: Dealer's Choice: More Gaelic Games, More Pints...  
   Location/Address: Multiple Locations
  Time:  Before Dinner
   So, this part of the day trip is up to you. There are several ways you can fill it. Maybe you want a ciesta before the evening? Maybe some more pubs? Perhaps live Gaelic Football or Hurling? I’ll be brief with a couple of suggestions… // (1) PUBS (ones in the downtown/north beach area): (a) Irish Bank – a classic, Downtown, 10 Mark Ln. at Bush, (b) Kells – decent pub & shop, North Beach, 530 Jackson St, (c) O’Reilly’s – solid, North Beach, 622 Green St, (d) Fiddler’s Green – 1333 Columbus Ave., (e) O’Neill’s – location of step 4, 900 N. Point, Ghiradelli Square. // (2) LIVE GAELIC FOOTBALL/ HURLING: Local stateside clubs play these sports as well. San Francisco is one of only a few US cities that has an official GAA field. If there are any matches scheduled and if you have wheels, the games are played on Treasure Island just outside the city. (Check the calendar at www.sanfranciscogaa.com.)
4)   Title: Dinner (more Irish food if you like)  
   Location/Address: O'Reilly's (622 Green Street/ North Beach)
  Time:  Evening
   There are a few spots in the city for an Irish dinner (Jonny Foley’s, O’Reilly’s, Fiddler’s Green, Irish Bank, Liberty’s), but O’Reilly’s does a fine job, including a decent oyster selection (I’m an oyster sucker). Plus, eating here will get you closer to the Buena Vista Café – birthplace of the Irish Coffee – for an optional pit stop after your meal. // O’Reilly’s: (415) 989-6222, 622 Green Street (North Beach) // Buena Vista Café: (415) 474-5044, 2765 Hyde Street (Ghiradelli Square area).
5)   Title: Traditional Irish Music  
   Location/Address: Plough & Stars, 116 Clement St, Richmond Dist.
  Time:  Sunday Nights
   Sadly, most Irish pubs in America do not host live Irish music, San Francisco included. Plough and Stars however has traditional music every Sunday night starting around 9pm. It’s a relaxed joint that can sometimes get crowded, so be sure to get there a little early. Seisiuns (sessions) are informal gatherings of traditional Irish musicians that are like jam sessions. Pretty cool. Just check be sure to check ahead to be sure (Plough & Starts - . http://www.theploughandstars.com/) // And, with an Irish Whiskey for your nightcap, may your dreams be filled with emerald beauty and smiles.

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