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Pubspy - Edenderry Edenderry's Oakwood Inn made Offaly long wait after lockdown worth it

Our crack commandos are on patrol again

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We enjoyed a brilliant atmosphere at The OakwoodInn in Edenderry following the county’s U20 GAA success

We enjoyed a brilliant atmosphere at The OakwoodInn in Edenderry following the county’s U20 GAA success

We enjoyed a brilliant atmosphere at The OakwoodInn in Edenderry following the county’s U20 GAA success

The Oakwood Inn - Edenderry, Co. Offaly

WE’RE BACK!

After 17 long and difficult months, Pub Spy and his team of old reliable crack commandos were finally back on the road.

There was a brief return last September for three weeks, but for those outings we had a deeply depleted squad, as the likes of the Old Commando was still quarantined in his home in Dublin, forbidden from tasting freedom or allowed to mingle with friends and colleagues.

All that has changed, however, following the long-awaited reopening of indoor hospitality – so there was a huge air of excitement when each Commando saw the name ‘Pub Spy’ light up on their mobile phones last weekend.

“I’ve the wallet full and the passport in my back pocket. I’ve been waiting on this call for a long time,” said the Old Commando when he got word.

He claims he didn’t touch a drop of stout for the last 17 months as he’s not a fan of cans or dining outside in the rain, but it’s unlikely he went that entire length of time without at least a drop of brandy.

Our designated driver collected us from our meeting point along Dublin’s quays and as we departed the Pale and headed west, there was a lovely feeling of normality starting to resume.

One of our commandos suggested a trip to the bogland might be nice and the Old Commando agreed immediately, stating there would be a terrific atmosphere in the pubs following Offaly’s U20 All-Ireland final success.

As we arrived in Edenderry, the Old Commando pointed out some pubs we had visited down through the years had failed to reopen. Unfortunately, this is something we’re likely to encounter every week on our travels as the hospitality industry struggles to recover and operate under strict new guidelines.

The Old Commando instructed our designated driver to park outside The Oakwood Inn and reminded us that he had been here many years ago.

“It’s a good aul’ GAA pub. If there’s no atmosphere here tonight, there’ll be none anywhere,” he told us.

“If they hear your accent they might want to chat about the Dublin-Mayo match,” the Young Commando replied with a snigger.

With our hands sanitised, we took our seats and soaked in the hysteria as the Faithful followers revelled in their U20s football success. Before long, a young waiter arrived to take our order. Pints of Guinness cost €4.70 and they were worth the wait. Served in the old-style tumbler, the Old Commando was licking the cream from his upper lip and we knew it wouldn’t be long before he was ordering round two.

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New carpets have been laid and the chairs seem to have all been reupholstered. There are at least four TVs in the lounge – three in the bar and at least one in each of the smoking areas/beer gardens, which are sheltered by a marquee-style canopy if you wish to sit outdoors. There was plenty of staff on duty and the service was prompt.

We could actually get used to not queuing and jostling at the counter, waiting to be served.

There was a mixed clientele, ranging from mid-20s to late 50s and all the Government guidelines were being adhered to. The atmosphere was exceptional, which was to be expected given the circumstances, and our commandos thoroughly enjoyed their visit.

The Young Commando was the first to inspect the toilets and he told us they were clean, with two cubicles, two sinks, a ceramic urinal, a hand dryer and bottles of soap were provided.

We had a great time in this pub and we’re so happy to be back on our weekly rounds. Even the Young and Old Commando were happy to be in each other’s company after so long apart – how long that lasts is another story though!

Rating: Four pints out of Five

One for the road

Larkin’s, Edenderry

ONCE our vaccine passports were verified, the young waitress took us to our seats and we placed our order. It was relatively busy, but there was plenty of staff on duty so we were never left waiting. There was a mixed clientele and a decent atmosphere, and it was noticeable how the staff all seemed to be on first-name terms with the customers – that’s always a good sign.

There are multiple TVs in the lounge and protective screens have been installed at the counter. They also serve food in this pub and have a variety of drinks available on draught, including six taps with various wines.

A large outdoor seating area with astroturf flooring has been constructed at the side of the building. Perspex sheeting on the walls and roof keep the rain away, but there is an adjoining indoor restaurant available too.The toilets checked out just fine.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

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