This is a guide I did for the Dubliner Magazine. It was a list of all the Irish places in Berlin. Truth be told, there aren’t that many if you don’t want to run a list of dark, ugly Irish bars. So I had to stretch things a little, but I know those hipster hurlers are out there, or at worst, were once.
In Görlitzer Park on Wednesday evenings a small group of Irish guys and the occasional token Kraut, play an informal game of hurling. It’s not competitive, it’s exhibitionist. Your milkbottle glasses might become detached from your head if you bounded into the air for a high ball. And pulling too hard on the sliotair would only rip the arse out of your Cheap Mondays. Anyone can join in, and as the best dressed hurlers you’ve ever seen, you can’t miss them.
A club of our own. Kleine Reise is a basement venue under a decent hostel in Kreuzberg. The fact that a lot of Irish people live in the area – and know the staff, so they don’t pay an entrance fee – means this place has become quite the local. Except no local should stay open until 8am. Kleine Reise is one of the major contributing factors to the slump in Irish productivity in Berlin. Passion Beat – Mano le Tough and Mark Flynn’s night is recommended.
Goerlitzer Park Studio
There can’t be many European capitals where you can find an abandoned brewery close to the centre of town and make it your own. If there were then everyone would be setting up music studios and rehearsal spaces themselves. Goerlitzer Park studio is Brian Crosby’s baby. Brian left Bell X1 a couple of years ago and is now living in Berlin. He goes to work in a brewery everyday – you don’t need to ask if he has any regrets about that decision.
The Oscar Wilde
It’s by no means beautiful, and in fairness it’s not even really that nice. But if you had to pick an Irish bar in Berlin, Oscar’s is probably the cream of that particularly nasty crop. They’ve employed pretty much a third of the Irish Berlin population at some stage or another, and still insist on closing early when the rest of the city is open all night. But that’s only so you can enjoy a taste of home in the form of a cheeky ‘lock in’.
Joe Hatchiban is an Irish guy with a portable karaoke machine that be brings along to the bearpit by the Mauerpark fleamarket every Sunday in summer. Joe Hatchiban is the most popular Irishman in Berlin. He gets a couple of hundred people to sing every week. The Germans love karaoke. You will never witness more precision hand-clapping in your life. The performances dip right down to the worst thing you’ve ever heard on stage, but typical of the land that guilt made, you won’t hear one boo or whistle.
Prenslaurberg was the place to live about five years ago in Berlin. But fashion and time are fickle friends and now P-berg is just slightly more attractive than a ghost estate in Edgeworthstown. Still, there are a few reasons left to go there. One is the Irish artists’ residency Ard Bia. They run informal gatherings and host exhibitions from time to time. And their courtyard is a very forgiving place to make a tit of yourself on free wine.
Café Hilde is a half-Irish café. It’s run by Kristina Hoppe, a German girl who used to work in Simon’s Place and her old college buddy, Dublin-born Michael John Whelan. They do the best Irish breakfast in town, and because it’s Berlin and nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s pluralist, they also run music nights, film nights, readings and art exhibitions.
The Irish Embassy
Dan Mulhall is spoiling them with the Ferrero Rocher at the Irish Embassy in Mitte. The new building is the old home of the Mendelssohn’s, and is quite the acquisition. Not so long ago the embassy was a rented office in another building, so the upgrade is a welcome addition. Plus, it’s proof that we’re putting all that German ‘get out of jail’ money to good use.
A fully dedicated Irish shop in Mitte, replete with a lovely old green bench out front for weary Micks to rest their homesick bums on. If you’ve managed to loose your faithful Aran geansai on a night out (perhaps at Kleine Reise?), you can replace it here. They also sell bodhráns, Irish jewellery and a number of Irish whiskeys. And as it’s Berlin, the shop runs exhibitions and readings throughout the year also. But you probably guessed as much already.
Yes, it’s true, the Germans not only love pumping their taxes into the construction of our motorways, they love our dancing too. Feel the Celtic Spirit, a dance company in Berlin, organise dances and dance classes across the city. Even though their names sounds like the kind of chat-up-line you might hear on the hill of Tara around midsummer, they’re actually quite successful.