What makes an Irish pub great? It could be the impressive whiskey selection used to create cocktail concoctions, the great variery of beers and ciders that go well beyond Guinness and Strongbow, or the traditional Irish music humming in the background (or raucously being performed)—maybe the friendly bartenders and regulars who know you by first name.

For Tim Herlihy, national brand ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, it's all of these characteristics (and then some) that contribute to the overall welcoming atmosphere, crucial to the identity of an Irish pub. Herlihy went on a journey across the U.S. this past month, hitting all 50 states within 30 days to experience the greatest Irish pubs in America. He gave us the inside scoop on his findings, along with reasons as to why these bars have stayed true to his Irish background.