Pubspy - Rochfortbridge | 

Grab yourself a bargain at Bagnall’s of Rochfortbridge before the €4.80 pints increase in price

The barman, who we think was named Peter, served the Young Commando without delay and he engaged him some friendly chit-chat.

Bagnall’s was packed to the rafters when we visited

Sunday World

Bagnall’s – Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath

JUST an hour down the M6, we found ourselves in the small village of Rochfortbridge this past week, a once busy route along with Kinnegad and Moate as people travelled to Galway.

It was certainly a lot quieter than those days, the Old Commando informed us and we wondered if it has had an effect on the pub trade in the area since then.

“We’ll check out Bagnall’s and see what the craic is” the Old Commando said. “I was here about fourteen years ago and it was a decent aul spot back then anyway” he continued.

We got parking at the rear of the building in a public car park and walked towards the pub which is located roadside on the R446.

January is notoriously quiet in the pub scene so we were shocked when we stepped inside the front door to find the pub packed to the rafters.

The bar is quite large but there were only two or three tables left and all located at the far end of the bar, furthest away from the counter.

They were serving food during our stay and there were a lot of people dining at the time. The clientele was mixed and ranging from young to elderly and there was a brilliant atmosphere.

The Young Commando was dispatched to the bar to place our order while the rest of us filtered through the crowd to grab one of the last remaining tables.

The barman, who we think was named Peter, served the Young Commando without delay and he engaged him some friendly chit-chat before carrying on his business.

There were at least three other staff on duty but they mostly serving food. The creamy pints of plain cost €4.80, which is considered decent in this day and age but come February 1, publicans are likely to have to raise the price of Guinness once again.

“It’s absolutely scandalous what’s going on in this country. More and more pubs are going to face closure if the Government don’t intervene and do something about it. Jobs are at stake here and they really don’t seem to care,” the Old Commando moaned.

There were three large screen TVs in use during our stay with snooker, horse racing and football all being shown while we drank our pints, but very few of the clientele seemed to be here to sit up and enjoy watching them.

We sat near the jukebox, which thankfully wasn’t in use at the time, but there are also two dart boards and a pool table on the opposite side of the pub.

The red leather barstools were in good condition and the timber and tiled flooring were both very clean.

A lovely red brick surround fireplace is located just inside the front door, with a large solid fuel stove keeping the place nice and cosy.

Orchard Thieves, Coors, Hop House 13 and both Rockshores, lager and cider, are available on draught, as well as the usual drinks and the Old Commando noticed a copy of ‘Pub Spy’s Top 10’ from 2009 framed behind the counter while getting our second round of drinks in. “I was on that jolly-up, actually, glad to see standards are being maintained,” he said.

Our designated driver was assigned toilet-inspection duties this week and he reported back to us that the toilets were clean, with four urinals and two cubicles, but the toilet seat was broken in one of them. This should be fixed without delay.

The Christmas decorations were still up and the Christmas spirit was definitely still alive and kicking during our visit to Bagnall’s pub in Rochfortbridge.

We enjoyed our drinks and the atmosphere and we’ll be sure to call again someday.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

One for the road…

Gonoud’s – Tyrellspass

THE Old Commando’s eyes lit up when we entered Gonoud’s bar as he saw a line of Guinness glasses perched on the counter, always a great sign.

The barman, TJ, was working by himself but was more than capable of handling the crowd as he served in both the front bar and an area towards the rear, where a younger clientele were playing pool.

The majority of customers were middle-aged to elderly males, and Gaelic Games was the dominating most of the conversations.

A photo of the Tyrrellspass football team that won the senior football championship in 1999 hangs proudly on the wall alongside a photo of the Westmeath Intermediate ladies that won the All-Ireland in 2021 and we noticed this pub is also a former ‘Black & White’ pub of the year winner.

The timber flooring looks as good as new, the red leather barstools were in good condition and the bar was very cosy with a brilliant atmosphere.

The toilets were basic but clean and the exterior is also well maintained.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

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