Pubspy - Rathmolyon | 

Harnan’s pub in Rathmolyon is more at-thatched now with ‘clean’ pint glasses and €5 pints

Pub we visited five years ago wasn’t top of our list but the upgrade on our second visit impressed us

We received a warm welcome in Harnan’s pub in Rathmoylon, Co Meath

Harnan – Rathmolyon, Co. Meath

PUB SPY’S Commandos consider themselves to be fair when it comes to giving publicans the benefit of the doubt and we try not to be too harsh on folks that are doing their best, especially in an industry that is under severe pressure with spiralling running costs.

Almost five years ago our troops paid a rather short visit to Harnan’s pub in Rathmolyon, Co Meath and needless to say we were not impressed. The barman and the car park were the only compliments we paid as we departed as quickly as we arrived.

As we made our way to the small village in Co Meath recently we decided that in the interest of fairness we would give them another chance to impress us.

“It can’t be any worse than last time,” the Old Commando mumbled under his breath as we walked through the front door.

“Where are you after bringing us,” our designated driver asked the Old Boy. “Is this Hawaii or Rathmolyon?” he joked as he spotted the barman in his flip flops, shorts and a flashy Hawaiian-style shirt.

The barman, who was extremely welcoming and chatty, served us immediately and although working alone he was well able to cope.

One of our complaints from five years ago was about the condition of the glasses our drinks were served in – but we couldn’t fault them this time around as the barman handed us our creamy pints of stout.

They cost €5 each and the Old Commando gave them his approval as he instructed yours truly to order round two.

“You might as well keep the barman on his toes,” he muttered.

There’s no point sugar coating it – this is not a boozer we’d be inclined to bring Mrs Pub Spy or even the girlfriend.

There’s certainly nothing glitzy or glamorous about it but we are honest enough to hold our hands up and say that one thing it wasn’t lacking was a fantastic atmosphere and some great characters.

It was (unsurprisingly) an all-male clientele but the yarns and sneering and jeering between the locals and the barman made for mighty craic and our Commandos really enjoyed it.

The green velvet barstools seemed to be in decent condition and there are two bench seats either side of the fireplace which wasn’t lit during our stay.

With the Greens in power it may never be lit again, who knows. The red and yellow floor tiles were clean and there is one TV in the front bar behind the counter, although nobody was paying any attention to it.

“I doubt the Sunday Game will be shown in Harnan’s for a long time, probably 2024,” the Old Commando joked.

The second section of this pub has a dart board and pool table and seems to be undergoing renovations.

The toilets in this pub came in for particularly harsh criticism on our previous visit but we’re glad to report there have been some improvements in this area.

Both the cubicle and the stainless steel urinal were clean, there’s a paper towel dispenser as well as a hand dryer and the green and white wall tiles looked newish.

In 2018 we had left after one round and advised that huge improvements were required.

After almost two years of enforced closures by the doctors that ran the country from 2020-2021, we’re just delighted to see that country pubs like this have survived – and while there is still work to be done, Harnan’s have certainly made improvements so we’ll focus on the positives for this visit.

We had decided this pub was worthy of a two-star rating but the entertainment the locals and the barman provided us, along with their warm welcome, put us in good humour and we upgraded it to three stars.

Rating: Three pints out of Five

One for the road…

John Shaw – Summerhill, Co. Meath

WE might be wrong, but this seems to be the only pub left in Summerhill – certainly the only one open when we called to the Co Meath village on a recent visit.

It was reasonably busy when we arrived in Shaw’s pub with a mixed clientele of all ages and a good lively atmosphere too.

A grey-haired barman with glasses served us and the Old Commando described him as a gentleman who was well capable of pulling good pints of stout.

There is one TV in the front bar and a large projection screen in the next area where the locals had gathered to shout at the nags.

The toilets were immaculately clean with four urinals and one cubicle.

This wasn’t our first visit to John Shaw’s pub and we’ve yet to be disappointed.

A very well-run boozer with good staff, nice locals and a super pint of the black stuff.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

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