Food & DrinkPub Spy

Moloney’s at summit for Mount’



IT was a quick trip to north Laois this past week ahead of a hectic bank holiday weekend schedule – and Mountmellick was our destination.

Four years had passed since our last visit and we were all hoping for a more enjoyable experience this time around.

“I’m still having nightmares about our visit to Mountmellick in 2011,” the Old Commando said.

“But I can’t let one bad experience prevent us from checking out what the rest of the town has to offer. Maybe this time around we’ll really enjoy it.”

There were major road-works being carried out on the Main Street but our designated driver still managed to secure parking relatively close to Moloney’s pub.

The black and gold exterior was in superb condition and it is obvious the owner takes great pride in the pub’s appearance. We were off to a great start and as we walked in through the side entrance, via the alleyway, we knew we’d found a cosy gem.

The vast majority of the all-male clientele were over 65, but there were enough of them knocking around to create a jolly atmosphere.

The young barman, whose name was John, served us immediately and he was an extremely polite and well-mannered young man. The Old Commando estimates he was in his early 30s, but he clearly held a great rapport with the local men at the bar as they joked and shared loads of yarns.

There was plenty of bench seating available, but on this occasion we preferred to stand close to the counter, as that was where all the banter was happening. The young barman took our order without delay and we were thrilled to pay just €4.10 for the creamy pints of stout.

“That’s very cheap isn’t it,” the Young Commando remarked.

“It could be even cheaper with the Budget coming up shortly. The best way to win over the common man is to lower the price of a pint,” the Old Commando replied.

The green barstools were in good condition and the timber floor was very clean. The bar was well stocked and there are two TVs at either end of the front bar.

The Young Commando noticed two cups sitting in the window across from the bar and after close inspection he said they were soccer cups won by Mountmellick. He also noticed a framed soccer jersey hanging on the wall near the front door – with the team sponsored by this pub.

The Old Commando always finds a way to start a conversation and he somehow got himself involved with an elderly man at the end of the counter. He told him this pub is set to celebrate its centenary next year.

“The owner’s grandfather first opened the doors here on St Patrick’s day, 1916,” he told us. “There should be a fair aul’ session next year for the anniversary.”

Pub Spy knows where he’ll be spending his St Patrick’s 2016!

We dispatched our designated driver to give the toilets the once-over and he passed through the lounge on his way. He told us it was spacious with one TV, a jukebox and a small stage for live bands.

He was very impressed by the loos and said they were immaculately clean. There is one cubicle and three urinals, the cream floor and wall tiles were very nice and there was a pleasant odour.

There is a festival of live music in this lovely pub next weekend and if it is half as enjoyable as our recent visit, then it is sure to be an entertaining weekend.

Pub Spy will return some day. Our faith in Mountmellick has been restored.

**** Four-pint rating