THE Young Commando got a shiver up his spine when Pub Spy announced we were going to visit Delvin in Co. Westmeath.
He wasn't best pleased with the news, having sworn blind that he'd never set foot in this small town in the Lake County.
While he has nothing against the town itself, he is adamant the area is associated with what he considers the biggest insult he has ever received.
"Ah, it wasn't that bad," the Old Commando sniggered as we departed from HQ.
"You do have a rough look about you, to be fair," he continued.
You see, as with every other town in Ireland at this stage, Pub Spy has been to Delvin before - but our previous visit was memorable for all the wrong reasons for the Young Commando.
Some time ago, our pub-mobile stopped off outside O'Shaughnessy's one Friday evening.
The Young Commando had a hankering for stout, but he almost had a heart attack when the barman robustly refused to serve him a drink without explanation.
At first the Young Commando laughed it off, left his money on the counter and traipsed off to use the toilets, thinking his stout was settling on the countertop while he visited the little boy's room.
To his complete shock and embarrassment the barman hadn't pulled his pint of stout and told him he wouldn't be served in this pub.
Stone-cold sober at the time, the Young Commando politely asked why. He had never been here before so he wasn't barred, despite being referred to as the Young Commando, he most certainly is over 18 and he is extremely vain, so he was well groomed at the time.
"Can I ask why you won't serve me?" he quizzed the barman that day.
"I don't have to give you a reason," he replied as he went about his business and ignored the Young Commando from there on.
For the past few years it has haunted our young buck as to why he was refused - it's the only time in his life it has happened.
"It must have been mistaken identity. Surely to God that's the only explanation. I must look like a local or something," he badgered on for months on end.
This past week we forced him to face his demons and we arrived back to O'Shaughnessy's pub in the hope of finally tasting a pint of stout.
Brave as a lion, the Young Commando marched in ahead of us and straight to the counter to order himself a pint. Much to his relief the barman took his order and said "no problem".
We quickly established it wasn't the same barman that had refused to serve him the last time, as this gentleman was older and had a moustache.
He didn't engage us in much conversation, but he poured good porter and, more importantly, he didn't throw any of us out!
There was an all-male clientele during our visit and seats at the counter were scarce, with many of the locals talking up Westmeath's Tailteann Cup chances this Sunday when they take on Offaly. The solid-fuel stove was lit and keeping that area nice and cosy.
There is a dartboard, a jukebox, at least three TVs and a pool table in the pub and we really enjoyed the country atmosphere, a place where everybody knows everybody.
Our designated driver inspected the toilets and he reported that they were fairly basic with four urinals and two cubicles but that neither toilet had a seat.
It may have taken us four extra years to taste the pints of Guinness, which cost €4.80, in O'Shaughnessy's pub in Delvin but all our travelling party enjoyed them and their stay here.
The Young Commando faced his demons and was a happy man heading back up the M4 that night. He slept like a baby when he got home.
Rating: Three pints out of Five
One for the road
The Camán Inn Delvin
THE Old Commando knows he was here before but he doesn’t remember the interior layout as it is now. Has it changed in the last few years?
There was a very easygoing atmosphere in the front bar, where they were still serving food late into the night.
The grey-haired barman with glasses was very welcoming and we got the impression he took things in his stride and wasn’t one to panic.
We sat in the end bar, which was a little bit quieter, but there was a large screen TV and some historic GAA photos of the Westmeath footballers from the 1990s and Delvin’s hurlers, as well as a ‘solidarity with Ukraine’ poster.
We picked up some English twangs among the couples that were having an evening meal, and most of the customers were middle-aged to elderly.
The toilets off the small bar consisted of three urinals and everything was above board.
A nice little boozer that’s worth a visit if you’re passing through the area.
Rating: Three pints out of Five