ONE-and-a-half hours up the road from our HQ is a town made famous by the poet Percy French.
It was quite fitting that we found a parking spot beside his monument in the market square and once we were finished waiting for the Old Commando, who was giving it a thorough inspection, we walked back towards The High Stool pub on Anne Street.
“A great name for a pub. Do you remember those mad old days pre-January when you weren’t allowed sit at the high stool? I wonder will we look back in years to come and laugh at ourselves for listening to such rubbish,” the Old Commando joked.
We’re almost one year back on the road now since Nphet reopened the pubs and our travelling party is delighted to be back doing what we do best, drinking porter around the country.
A good few years have passed since our last visit to Ballyjamesduff and we were looking forward to checking out the local boozers.
There were two barmen on duty in The High Stool when we called and one of them was named Seamus.
The more elderly of the two barmen engaged us in plenty of conversation and was full of chat about last Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final and, of course, the lovely weather.
“I didn’t think they liked hurling up here in these parts,” the Young Commando said when the barman had left.
“They like hurling everywhere. It’s the best game in the world,” the Old Commando replied sharply.
The creamy pints of stout cost €4.60, which is considered very reasonable these days, and they have a number of alternative options available on draught such as Carling, Coors, Orchard Thieves and Birra Moretti alongside the usual.
The barstools at the counter were in good condition as were all the red velvet bench seating areas throughout the pub.
There was a very good atmosphere too among the mixed clientele, although some of the locals were a little worse for wear.
There are at least four TVs in the pub along with a projection screen, and with football across the pond kicking off next weekend the pubs are likely to see a spike in trade shortly.
There is also a dart board, a jukebox and a pool table.
The Old Commando was quick to notice a collage of GAA photos from 2018 where the local GAA side Castlerahan had captured their maiden Cavan senior football title.
“I’d say there was some porter drank that night,” the Old Commando said. “And they won it again in 2019 so I’d say they drank the same again,” he joked, before adding that they are the only two senior titles the club has ever won, as far as he knows. We don’t doubt him.
Both the carpet and tiled section of the pub were clean and we spotted the electric heater in the yellow brick surround fireplace.
Thankfully it wasn’t lit and hopefully won’t be need to be for another few weeks.
The Young Commando was on toilet duties and he reported back to us that the toilets are quite small and there were cigarette butts in the stainless steel urinal.
It’s a long time since we’ve come across this issue and we’re hoping it’s just a once off.
Apart from that issue, we had a really good time in The High Stool.
The pints were lovely, the barman was very mannerly and there was a terrific atmosphere. What more could you ask for?
Rating: Three pints out of Five
One for the road
The Beer Garden - Ballyjamesduff
AN engraved mirror just inside the front door celebrates the 25 years of ownership of this pub from 1975-2000 by Tony and Mary. Perhaps there’ll be a new one due in 2025 as Tony was still serving us creamy pints of stout this past week.
It was relatively quiet during our visit, with just a handful of customers at the counter and a few more in the beer garden outside, but some quiet pints in a relaxing atmosphere was just what we wanted.
There is one TV located at the end of the long narrow bar but nobody was paying much attention to it.
There is plenty of seating throughout the pub and the carpet was clean too. It’s a very old school boozer and the Old Commando said it reminded him of 1975.
We gave the toilets a quick inspection before we departed and noticed cigarette butts and a lighter in the urinal. Just a word of caution — keep a closer eye on the toilet facilities.
Rating: Three pints out of Five