Pubspy - Skryne, Co Meath | 

J O’Connell’s in Meath arguably serves the most famous €4.80 pints of Guinness in Ireland

O’Connell’s pub is synonymous with Christmas and Guinness and the troops were delighted when it was announced that this would be our destination ahead of the big day.

PubspySunday World

J O’Connell – Skryne, Co Meath

WITH Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year, Pub Spy decided to make it a special last outing for the Commandos.

Is there a more iconic Christmas pub in Ireland than J O’Connell’s pub in Skryne, Co Meath?

We couldn’t think of one.

O’Connell’s pub is synonymous with Christmas and Guinness and the troops were delighted when it was announced that this would be our destination ahead of the big day.

Only the Old Commando could claim to have been here before but he said it feels like a lifetime ago, and it was before it became famous.

“I was definitely in this pub before but it could be twenty years ago, I’d say. In fact, it could be even more,” the Old Boy told us as we arrived on the hill of Skryne.

The Young Commando was very excited when he saw the exterior and couldn’t wait to rush inside and check out this landmark boozer.

The front door was closed (most likely due to the cold) but the lights were on and there were plenty of folks at home.

The place was buzzing with excitement when we arrived and each of the four sections had customers revelling in the Christmas atmosphere.

This is an old-school styled tavern with the concrete floor laid bare, old timber bench seating fixed to the wall and a timber counter that’s possibly the original.

A cosy coal fire was burning away in the first section and this seemed to be where most of the locals were seated.

The area to the right hand side of the pub and the lower section at the back of the pub were populated with a younger clientele, and while we couldn’t be sure, we took a wild guess that they weren’t locals but were most likely on a 12 pubs of Christmas tour.

“I’d say a lot of them lads are footballers,” the Old Commando said. “Young, fancy haircuts and in well dressed clothes that are two sizes too small for them,” he joked.

There was a barmaid and barman on duty during our stay and both were friendly and kept on their toes.

The creamy pints of stout, arguably the most famous pints of Guinness in Ireland, cost €4.80 and some of the other options available on draught include Carlsberg, Heineken, Smithwicks and Coors.

This pub may look like something from the 1950s but it was a recent recipient of the 2020 Leinster Pub of the Year award and it’s easy to see why.

It seemed to get busier as time ticked on, with more people coming to enjoy this iconic jewel in Skryne.

There are no TVs in the pub (that we could see anyway) but they aren’t required either as the atmosphere is fantastic.

Our eagle eyed Young Commando went for a tour of the pub and noticed in the lower fourth section of the pub a framed copy of Pub Spy’s previous visit to the pub — all the way back in April 1999.

“Pints were only £2 back then,” the Young Commando exclaimed. “And the lager was only £2.15 — sure no wonder you ended up the way you did,” he said while pointing at the Old Commando.

When converted to euro that’s approximately €2.55 for a pint of stout, but in most places in Ireland now you would be paying more than double that.

The opening hours for this pub are displayed just inside the front door with last orders taking place at 10.30pm from Monday-Thursday, 11.30pm on Friday and Saturday and 10pm on a Sunday.

The toilets are located off the premises and down the back yard, which is never ideal at this time of year in particular, but they were spacious and clean with three urinals, one cubicle and a paper towel dispenser.

We loved our time in J O’Connell’s pub and it was certainly one ticked off our bucket list.

We wished the staff and locals a very happy Christmas before we left while also reminding them: “Don’t forget to turn off the lights.”

Rating: Four pints out of Five

One for the road…

Fox – Skryne, Co Meath

THIS is a deceptively large pub at the bottom of the hill of Skryne. It’s fabulous inside and worthy of a visit if you’re in the area.

A grey-haired barman was on duty during our stay and he was a friendly individual who seemed to know his customers quite well.

The interior stone walls are a lovely feature and we kept ourselves warm as we sat beside the solid fuel stove just across from the bar.

The timber floor was like new and the leather barstools were in good condition. There were two TVs in the bar and although it wasn’t overly crowded or busy, there was a very good atmosphere with plenty of banter.

There is a pool table at the end of the bar but it was covered over during our stay.

The toilets are across the forecourt. They were very clean with cream wall tiles, two urinals and a cubicle.

Fox’s pub is lovely, and it’s one we’d love to call to again.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

Today's Headlines

More Pubspy

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices