pubspy - birr, co Offaly | 

Head to Spain’s for delicious creamy pints at €4.70 in Offaly boozer

As we veered off the M6 in Kilbeggan and on towards the Faithful County, the Young Commando shouted from the backseat “eh, we’ve all been to Offaly before!”

Head to Spain's in Shinrone for a cold Birr

Sunday World

R. SPAIN Birr, Co Offaly

PUB SPY rounded up the troops this week and told them they were going somewhere they’d never been before.

“Great stuff! Always nice to try out somewhere new,” one of the Commandos said as we travelled along the M4.

As we veered off the M6 in Kilbeggan and on towards the Faithful County, the Young Commando shouted from the backseat “eh, we’ve all been to Offaly before!”

“You have indeed,” our designated driver replied, “but you’re still a long way from where we’re heading.”

We eventually arrived at our destination and the Commandos were all left scratching their heads as they found themselves in a remote village on the Offaly/Tipperary border. Only the Old Commando recognised the name of the area but that was purely for hurling and GAA-related purposes rather than a familiarity with the place.

“Shinrone, by God I’d say we’re a little late to the party but there would have been one hell of a party here 2-3 weeks ago,” the Old Commando said as we walked towards R Spain’s pub.

“They’ve just won their first ever senior hurling championship. There mightn’t be any barrels left in this pub when we get inside,” he joked.

None of our Commandos had ever been to Shinrone before but it’s pretty much what you would expect in a small rural village — a primary school, a pub, a shop and the holy mecca itself, the GAA grounds.

It appears there may have been two more pubs in the area at one time but judging by their current appearance we assumed they’re permanently closed.

We walked into Spain’s pub not knowing what to expect or whether they would still be celebrating, but we weren’t overly surprised that the all male clientele seated at the counter were discussing the small ball and next Sunday’s Leinster championship clash with Naas.

“We missed the party but at least they’ve porter,” the Old Commando joked as he placed our order with Mick the barman.

The creamy pints of stout cost €4.70 and we huddled around the solid fuel stove in an attempt to get warm. It was nice and cosy in this section and there was a TV over the stove and also a dart board to keep us entertained.

Most of the clientele were middle-aged, although there were two younger gentlemen in the club gear sitting in the corner sipping pints. Just supporters, no doubt!

The red and white bunting is still hanging proudly from the counter and the flags are draped in the front window to show their support for the local heroes.

Our Old Commando noticed some photos of the 1994 and 1998 Offaly teams that lifted the Liam McCarthy cup, and no doubt the Shinrone men of 2022 will have their photo hung on the wall of fame very soon as the first group of men from the village to bring the Sean Robbins cup back to Shinrone.

There is plenty of seating throughout the pub, although our Young Commando said our table was quite sticky and could have done with a clean.

“There’s probably three weeks worth of Guinness stuck to it at this stage,” our Commandos laughed.

Opening hours are set to be legally extended for pubs in 2023 and hopefully this can help improve trade for the rural pubs too as we noticed that Spain’s pub opens late midweek.

We really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere in R. Spain’s pub.

The Old Commando could have stayed for the night but he let his last pint down the hatch and wished them good luck in the Leinster club championship next weekend.

Rating: Three pints out of Five

One for the road…

The Fighting Cocks – Birr

We had barely walked through the front door when we began to lose the hats, scarves and coats. It was extremely warm in the front bar of this pub and thankfully the solid fuel stove wasn’t lit or we may have passed out.

The front bar has two sections and both were very busy with a predominately young, mixed clientele and superb atmosphere. The brown leather barstools were in good condition as was the blue velvet bench seating, and the timber flooring was very clean.

There are two TVs with live football and horse racing being broadcast.

No pub in Birr would be complete without a photo of one of their many great hurling teams, and it is the class of 1944 that gets the nod here in this boozer.

The lounge area is exceptional with a projection screen, a jukebox and a state of the art counter area. We’re already looking forward to a return visit.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

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