Food & DrinkPub Spy

Great value creamies for the quiet fan


Having visited some of the larger towns of Ireland over the past few weeks, the Old Commando was eager to visit rural Ireland and there aren’t too many places more rural than Leitrim.

The Young Commando knew we would have to suffer through his rendition of the hit song ‘Lovely Leitrim’ by the late Larry Cunningham, so he made sure to pack his iPod and earphones!

Eight years had passed since we last visited Carrigallen, so there was an air of excitement and expectation ahead of this trip. The Old Commando had fond memories of that experience and proved his mind is still as sharp as ever.

“I remember thinking at the time that Carrigallen had the cheapest pints in Ireland. They were only about €3.40 or so at the time and the country was booming. Hopefully, it’s still the same,” he said.

We arrived at Masterson’s pub at the end of the Main Street and once we had the pubmobile parked safely we made our way to the bar.

Upon entry, there is just a hallway in front of you, but we took a chance and entered the first door on the right. Lo and behold it was the bar all right, but unfortunately we seemed to have arrived at the wrong time. The place was practically empty!

“They must have heard your singing and all scattered,” the Young Commando joked to his older colleague.

There was but a handful of elderly gentlemen sitting at the counter and no bar staff readily available. Just as we rang the bell for service, a young barmaid appeared from the adjoining sweet shop to serve us. She tended to us immediately and was very welcoming.

The pints of stout cost just €3.70, equal to a pub we visited in New Ross in March, and we have yet to find anywhere in Ireland that’s cheaper. Is €3.70 the cheapest non-promotional drink in Ireland? 

The Old Commando certainly approved of both the cost and the taste and he didn’t delay in ordering his second pint from the middle-aged barman who arrived on duty 15 minutes later.

He claimed his second pint was even better than the first and he ended up sitting at the counter, engaging the friendly barman in conversation. They nattered away for the duration of our trip and the Old Commando really enjoyed his company. 

There are just five taps of draught in the bar, including Smithwick’s, Heineken and Foster’s, as well as pints of Tuborg for just €3.50.

Apart from the one TV and the dartboard, there isn’t much to do or see. It was very quiet so you make your own atmosphere. There is just one piece of bench seating – about five-foot long – and the black leather covering was torn.

We counted 15 barstools throughout the bar and just four small tables. There is a very small electric heater located underneath the TV beside the counter, but we’d struggle to believe it can heat the entire bar on a cold Leitrim winter’s evening.

“You’d fit that yoke in your pocket,” one of our troops joked.

There are plenty of GAA photos hanging throughout the bar, including one of the local side who captured the 2006 Intermediate football title and the Leitrim ladies team who won the 2006 Connacht championship.

The Young Commando checked out the toilets and he said while they were clean, there was room for improvement.

“The paper towel dispenser is empty. There’s only kitchen roll in there to dry your hands and there’s a hole in the floor,” he said.

If it’s bright lights and excitement you’re after you’ll be disappointed, but the locals who like a quiet €3.70 pint won’t find too much to grumble about here.