kinda sucks, unfortunately. There are a total of 4 craft brewers in the country, as far as I can tell- Porterhouse, Messrs. Maguire's, Dublin Brewing Company and Carlow's.
Porterhouse- some hits, mostly just bland. Their big claim is the XXXX stout which they push as being better than Guinness. And it is. But it's still not that great (get there in a sec). Their other big one was Ain Brain Blasta (which means 'a tasty drop' in gaelic), which was pretty boring but at 7.9% at least you didn't have to drink too much. Porterhouse did have a decent bottle selection tho, including some rare Frech Biere de Garde's (so rare, in fact, that they were out) and some belgian stuff. Boring wit, boring mild, boring red, downright wierd and gross Oyster Stout.
Messrs. Maguire's only had 4 on, and the two I tried were so mediocre I wasn't inclined to try the others. Could barely taste the red, and the stout tasted like they added a ton of molasses didn't ferment it all the way. Very very sweet. Interesting pub though, in that the female:male ration was about 10:1. Made me think something was up...
Dublin Brewing Company- only beer I had from them was the Revolution Red (I was too burnt out on Stouts at this point... I just wanted to go home and drink my own, hah), and it was actually quite good. Pretty tangy with a pronounced strawberry taste. The hops were evident, if tame by comparison with my normal ration. I had this at O'Niells pub right across from the tourism center, only place I saw it. Very hot bartender girl, and very very annoying American patrons. Yes I'm American, but I prefer not to associate my self with the idiots from this place.
Carlow's- didn't see anything from them on tap, but I picked up a few bottles to take home- O'Hara's stout and Molings red. Haven't tried em yet, but I'll get some out tonite and get back to you.
Now, the other crap. Guinness is better there, but its still not great. Available, drinkable, yes. Good, compared to what's easily available in CA? No way sir. I drank Murphy's if I had the choice, much better Irish stout.
Other things they had were Kilkenny's, Smithwicks, some ciders, and random European lagers. Stella EVERYWHERE. Basically, it's not a craft beer country.
Now, the WHISKEY... good shit. I had a glass of Middleton Very Rare (130 Euro/bottle, 10 Euro/glass), and it was damn good. So smooth and mellow you could just drink it nonstop. If that weren't a total waste of money anyway. I tried a few rare aged ones, Jameson 18 year, Powers 18 year, Terconnel, some other ones I can't remember. I've decided that, with few exceptions (Middleton being one), Powers Gold Label is the best bang for your buck. At 2-4x the cost, the aged stuff isn't THAT much better. By the way, virtually every Irish whiskey is distilled in the same place...
One interesting thing I got was Green Spot Irish Whiskey. It's made by Jameson especially for the Mitchell and Son wine merchants in Dublin, only a few hundred bottles a year. At 35 Euro, it was quite a bargain! Very very good, better then some of the aged stuff that was way more expensive, with the added bonus of 'you can't get it anywhere else' coolness.
Overall, fun trip, I recommend it to anyone!