Food & DrinkPub Spy

Enfield’s The Midland offered some royal treatment

The Midland
The Midland

AFTER a long trip out west last week, the Commandos were more than happy when Pub Spy decided to keep it local-ish.

We didn’t require a sat-nav as we departed HQ and headed for the small town of Enfield in South Meath. Every man and his dog would have passed through this town at one stage or another, but the Old Commando pointed out that since the development of the M4, Enfield is largely bypassed these days.

It took us just over 40 minutes to arrive from The Pale and we were steeped to land a parking spot right outside the front door.

The Old Commando informed us all that he had been to The Midland Bar back in the summer of 2004 and would like to check it out again to make sure standards were as high as back then.

“I remember visiting here almost a dozen years ago now. The smoking ban wasn’t long in at the time and there was signs everywhere warning people not to smoke,” the Old Commando reminisced.

Yes the nanny state killed the dubious pleasure of a pint with a cigarette chaser but no doubt it’s saved many a boozer from the smoke clouds we were used to.

As luck would have it, we arrived at just the right time. There were baskets of food lining the counter tops and we weren’t two minutes in the door when the middle-aged barman handed one over to us.

We placed our order without delay and mingled with the crowd who were enjoying the live football on the huge projection screen TV, and the free grub.

The pints of stout cost €4.30, which is the going rate in the Midlands over the past two years – or so the Old Commando said – and they really hit the spot.

We didn’t notice any signs warning people not to smoke, but as one of our spies rightly said, you shouldn’t need them after 12 years.

There are two more TVs in the bar and we also noticed a pool table, a modern jukebox and a dartboard at the opposite end of the bar. There was a mixed clientele during our stay.

While the rest of us watched the match on TV, our designated driver checked out our surroundings and he noticed some nice photos hanging throughout the bar.

There are plenty of GAA-related snaps as you would expect in the football-mad Royal County, including a commemorative plaque of the successful 1967 team hanging beside the counter. We also noticed that they’re quite neighbourly in these parts as a photo of the Lilywhites of Kildare hung beside the projection screen.

“Sure that’s hardly surprising,” the Old Commando stated.

“Kildare is about 100 yards up the road. It makes sense to include them. Always think of the sales,” he smirked.

The black and yellow Na Fianna GAA flag is still flying in this pub despite their heartbreak last October, when they fell to Kevin Reilly’s Navan O’Mahonys in the Meath senior football county final.

However, one local assured the Old Commando that they’ll bounce back this year and go one better.

The green velvet bench seating was in good condition and the red brick fireplace is a nice feature.

The large solid-fuel stove was keeping us all nice and cosy on a cold winter evening and the Young Commando was delighted to avail of the free WiFi on offer.

Before we were set to depart, we gave the toilets a quick once-over and while they are quite small, they were clean.

There is a ceramic urinal and one cubicle provided, but the cubicle lock was broken and should be repaired immediately.

All in all, this was an enjoyable trip to South Meath and hopefully we won’t leave it another 12 years before we return.