We eventually parked up in the Arthur’s Quay shopping centre car park off Patrick’s Street and we were in no hurry as we took a stroll around the city centre.
“This is a great spot lads. I used to come down here years ago to the Gaelic Grounds. There was always a great atmosphere in the place,” the Old Commando informed us.
“The best GAA atmosphere of 2014 was down here for the Kerry and Mayo match last August. That was mighty.”
Our Young Commando was quick to remind his older counterpart that Thomond Park is also in Limerick city and probably a far more popular ground in this area. We rambled through the city for a half hour or so before we ended up on Roche’s Street and outside Brendan O’Brien’s pub.
“We’ll give this place a chance I reckon,” the old Commando stated.
“It looks good from the outside anyway,” he smiled.
If for any bizarre reason you were unaware of what province you were in, you would receive a quick reminder the moment you reach O’Brien’s front door. There are numerous photos in the front window and there are another three large pictures to greet you just inside the door of Munster rugby’s glory days.
We admired one in particular, of Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell celebrating with the Heineken cup on the Main Street of Limerick.
“Jaysus, there must be thousands lining the streets behind them. It’ll be a while before they’ll see that again,” the Young Commando joked.
We had to warn him to be on his best behaviour from here on in as he has a tendency to rub people up the wrong way. He’s an avid Leinster supporter, but he was definitely in the wrong part of Ireland to be cracking jokes.
A young barman served us without delay and he was wearing the obligatory Munster jersey, which seems to be the staff uniform in every pub in Limerick. The coolers were half stocked, but there was sufficient supply for the crowd that was here.
It was very quiet when we dropped by, with only a handful of young-to-middle-aged males sitting at the counter and eager for a game of Texas Hold’em. This is a rather large pub, but there was little or no atmosphere as the rest of the bar was empty.
That didn’t prevent us from enjoying our pints of stout, however. At €4.30, the black stuff went down a treat with the Old Commando. He said it maintained its head right until the last drop. The red velvet barstools were fine and the orange-coloured floor tiles were nice and clean.
There is a fireplace opposite the counter, but there was no fire lit – and we hate to see rubbish left sitting in the grate. We counted three TVs in total and there is a dartboard at the rear of the pub near the toilets.
The Young Commando cast an eye over the loos and he said there is room for improvement. The cubicle lock was broken and there was some wall tiles missing too.
There’s plenty of potential for Brendan O’Brien’s pub, but unfortunately it was far too quiet when we called for us to say we really enjoyed ourselves. The barman was friendly, the pints were reasonably priced and very tasty, but the lack of atmosphere deprived us of a good time.
Perhaps we will call again sometime and hopefully it will be a livelier affair.