Pubspy - Ballyhaunis | 

Mayo finally gets a win with top-quality pints at €4.70 in MacSiúrtains

Ballyhaunis boozer is a friendly spot
Costing €4.70, the Old Commando was full of praise for the quality of the stout in MacSiúrtains

Costing €4.70, the Old Commando was full of praise for the quality of the stout in MacSiúrtains

THE Old Commando was delighted to be heading west this past week as he hadn't set foot in Mayo since December 2019, long before the dread C word dominated the Irish landscape.

Trips to Mayo are predominately spent arguing and bantering with the locals about football but for the first time since 2012 the Old Commando would be going there with his tail between his legs following his beloved Dubs' All-Ireland semi final defeat to Mayo last August.

"You won't be as vocal today as you have been for the last ten years I'd say," the Young Commando joked to his older counterpart.

"Why's that?" the Old Commando snarled. "Didn't Mayo end your '7 in a row' ambitions?" the Young Commando replied.

"They did, but they still won nothing as usual so they've nothing to crow about," he cheekily responded.

MacSiúrtains was our port of call and we liked the sign above the front door which stated 'Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends'.

We were hoping that would be the case. The barman on duty was engaged in conversation at the far end of the counter when we arrived but he immediately came to greet us and before long we were all seated and supplied with pints of the black stuff.

Costing €4.70, the Old Commando was full of praise for the quality of the stout and he was very complimentary of the barman.

There was an all male clientele in the pub during our stay, ranging from early thirties and above and we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere.

There are at least four TVs and a large projection screen in the front bar, while we also noticed a dart board beside the counter and a poker machine on the window sill on the opposite side of the room.

The Young Commando, who's fond of a game of cards, decided to play a hand or two and it was during this time he noticed a historic framed copy of "What year was it from?" the Old Commando queried.

"I wonder was I on that junket. I'm doing this job that long they're going to have fund my transplant."

"It doesn't say what year it was but it's definitely over twenty years ago anyway, that's for sure. Pints of Guinness were only £1.90. It wouldn't get you a litre of diesel these days," the Young Commando joked.

With restrictions all removed from pubs it has given us the freedom to resume our old walk-around routine rather than be confined to a seat.

There is certainly a huge sense of pride for all things Mayo GAA here in MacSiúrtain's bar with a photo collage of the ladies' senior team and their All-Ireland successes in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003 as well as the minor football team that won the All-Ireland in 2013 which featured current Mayo stars Stephen Coen and Conor Loftus.

The Old Commando is renowned for his GAA memory and he informed us that Mayo beat Tyrone that day in the minor final but that at least two of the Tyrone players have since gone on to win the Sam Maguire, namely Frank Burns and former AFL player Conor McKenna.

The fridges were all fully stocked and the tiled floor was swept spotlessly clean.

The red leather barstools were all in good condition and there was a votive candle holder on each table.

The only thing the Young Commando didn't like about the pub was Manchester United photos and references everywhere.

"I suppose there's no such thing as flawless, is there," he laughed. We really enjoyed our time in this pub and would love to call again some day. It's a lovely boozer and the clientele is very friendly.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

One for the road

Gill’s - Ballyhaunis

THIS former Pub of the Year award winner from 1995 is one of those pubs the Old Commando simply can’t pass by.

No, it wasn’t our first visit here and it’s unlikely to be our last either, but the Old Commando insisted it had been a decade or more since his last visit. He loves it and describes it as chilled, relaxing, has a good atmosphere, good locals and good porter.

There was an all male clientele during our recent stay and a barmaid with glasses on duty. She must recognise the Old Boy by now. The green velvet bench seating was in good condition and the red coloured carpet was clean. The toilets were clean with a marble styled urinal, one cubicle and a paper towel dispenser. The price list at the front door needs to be updated as the Guinness is advertised for €4.30 but is selling for €4.70.

An enjoyable few pints were had.

Rating: Four pints out of Five


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