BEFORE we departed from HQ this past week the Commandos were discussing the prospect of travelling to Navan by train some day and how convenient it would be.
Unfortunately, it remains a delayed pipe dream and one unlikely to come to fruition before 2031 or probably even 2041, if the truth was known.
“Maybe there’ll be no need for one once everyone outside Dublin begins sharing the ‘Community Car’ that Eamon Ryan suggested in 2019,” the Old Commando said. “My grandkids won’t be around to see that Navan metro-link,” he continued.
So we embarked on the one hour drive to Navan and eventually we stumbled upon Paddy Fitzsimon’s pub on Trimsgate Street. The Old Commando knew there was a strong Meath GAA connection to this boozer and he was eager to check it out.
“A Navan O’Mahony GAA stronghold this pub,” he said to us as we took our seats across from the counter. “The owner, God rest him, would have won a sack full of medals with them back in the days.”
An elderly barman with a moustache and dressed in uniform served us when we arrived and he had all the hallmarks of a man in the business all his life.
Working alongside him was a young barmaid who is just starting out in life, but we could tell she’s getting a good apprenticeship. We didn’t catch the barman’s name but he was a very friendly man and he served the creamiest pints of stout at a very reasonable (in this day and age) €4.50.
“You won’t find them much cheaper these days, but maybe the Government will intervene come Budget day,” the Young Commando suggested.
There are plenty of options available on draught such as
Fosters, Coors and Birra Moretti and the shelves were all fully stocked. There is a lot of barstools throughout the pub and the atmosphere was superb as the locals watched and commented on the live GAA on the three TVs. The vast majority of the clientele were middle aged to elderly males and the Old Commando fit in seamlessly.
While there is plenty of horse racing and historical photos adorning the walls of Paddy Fitzsimons’ pub, make no mistake about it, this is GAA heartland.
Every Meath football team to capture the Sam Maguire since 1949 has earned themselves a place on the wall, the centenary hurling and football teams hang not far from them and a framed Navan O’Mahony’s jersey can also be found.
There is also a fabulous photo at the end of the counter of Paddy Fitzsimons (RIP) and his brother Jim, the former MEP and Fianna Fáil TD holding the Keegan cup in Páirc Tailteann a few years ago. An inscription below the photo states that Paddy and Jim were the first two brothers to captain a Meath club to senior football championship glory (1961 and 1963).
We inspected the rest of the pub and found a second section with four poker machines and two fools who sat there for the duration of our stay pouring coin after coin into it.
The toilets were located down a long hallway and they were clean, with two cubicles, two urinals and the dryer was working. We poked our head in the door of the lounge and saw it too was enjoying a good steady trade, but we stuck to our seats in the bar where we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere.
It wasn’t the easiest task to convince the Old Commando to leave.
We all had a great time in Fitzsimons’s pub and we’ll be sure to call again some day.
Rating: Four pints out of Five
One for the road
Geraghty’s - Dunderry
WE’RE not sure how we ended up in, or how we found Geraghty’s pub in the small village of Dunderry, but we’re glad we did. We had a great time in this boozer and loved the country atmosphere among the locals who all seemed to be really enjoying themselves. Imagine how small villages like this suffered with no outlet for two years?
The brown leather couches looked good as new and they were very comfy, while the red coloured barstools were also in good condition. There are at least two TVs in the front bar with hurling and rugby on them, and we also noticed some Leinster, Meath and Ireland flags draped from the ceiling.
A very young barman served us and despite it being very busy he coped just fine with no issues. The loos were clean but neither toilet cubicle had a seat. We’d encourage some investment in this area.
While passing through the second section of this pub we noticed a pool table, a poker machine, another TV and a cigarette machine.
Rating: Three pints out of Five