"When Irish eyes are smiling …" And we’re sure they will be with leprechauns, shamrocks, Guinness, a lot of blarney and all things Irish at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub in Santa Monica, offering Irish music, dance, food and drink that make the heart sing.

Once upon a time, Finn McCool’s was but a dream of Gerri Gilliland, the daughter of an Irish pub owner. When Gilliland’s father retired after a generation of owning a pub in Ireland where Gilliland learned to pull pints of Guinness before she was 10, she shipped the whole kit and caboodle, timber by timber, to Santa Monica. In February 2002, Finn McCool’s was born with its genuine Irish teak bar, Irish furniture and tweed cushions.

One of L.A.’s impressive personas, Gilliland is a chef, teacher, author, caterer and restaurateur, with many successful restaurant establishments under her belt. She is also the co-author of Grills & Greens, a cookbook nominated for the honorable James Beard Award.

Grab a bite and a pint, socialize with friends and a universal crowd, and enjoy the musical delights at Zagat-rated Finn McCool’s, where 98 percent of the staff is genuine Irish. David Caughey, the general manager and an Irish import, has more than enough smarts to keep Finn McCool’s hopping.

Besides traditional Irish fayre, Finn McCool’s offers a large selection of menu items to satisfy all tastes. Try the corned beef and cabbage, a plate brimming over with their own delicious cured corned beef. Maybe you’re feeling like breakfast for dinner? Order the all-day Irish breakfast, which overflows with Irish bacon, sausage, Irish potato cakes, sautéed mushrooms, eggs and Irish soda bread. For dessert, you might ingest the bread pudding soaked in Irish whiskey – wicked! Finn McCool’s also has a full selection of imported beers and an impressive selection of world drinks.

The place is always packed and open daily, noon to 11 p.m. on weekdays and until 1 a.m. on weekends. Sundays at 4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. are the Traditional Irish Sessions where musicians perform their favorites. Every other Wednesday at around 8:30 p.m., singer-songwriter Damian Joyce entertains, alternating with the Finn McCool Irish Rock Band. Thursdays around 9 p.m., PJ Smith and Sid and Simon from Mini Bar play mellow, low-key rock.

Finn McCool’s is located at 2702 Main Street, in Santa Monica, (310) 452-1734. For more information, visit www.gerrigilliland.com.