JUST one hour from our HQ is the home of Irish music, or so the Old Commando tells us anyway.
Yes, Mullingar has produced many a musical talent over the years from Niall Horan to Niall Breslin, Joe Dolan and apparently the boss of all bosses, Bruce Springsteen.
Our Old Commando has a bit of a reputation for spinning yarns around the office but he was very adamant that he was being straight as a die this time around.
"The Boss can trace his roots to Mullingar, no doubt about it. The biggest and best rock-star of all time is a descendent of the Lake County," he insisted.
"Maybe he'll play Cusack park next time he's over," the Young Commando joked from the back seat of the pub-mobile.
As we walked along the main street of Mullingar we spotted Montgomery's Whiskey Bar and although we've visited Mullingar many times over the years, we can't recall ever being here.
The front section of the pub was busy so we shuffled through the crowd and into the more spacious second section of the bar where we managed to nab a few barstools and perch ourselves at the counter.
A young barmaid named Shauna was on duty and she served us without delay.
The creamy pints of stout were steeply priced at €4.90, a fee we found very expensive for the midlands.
"There are pubs in Dublin cheaper than that and it was only in January we paid €4.30 in Galway and €4.40 in Portlaoise late last year," the Young Commando moaned.
"And it's advertised at the front door for €4.70 so that price-list will have to be updated too," the Old Commando commented.
The front bar consisted mostly of middle aged to elderly male customers, who were busy watching horse racing and warming themselves around the small electric heater sitting at the fireplace.
The clientele's average age lowered in the second section where we sat but there was a good lively atmosphere throughout the pub.
The tiled floor was sparkling clean and the wine coloured bench seating was in great condition too.
The fridges were all well stocked and it was noticeable that the barmaid had a great rapport with the locals.
We admired her work ethic - she never stood still and was busy polishing the mirrors and photos throughout the pub.
There are two TVs in the second section where the young crowd were watching live football.
There should be a terrific atmosphere today as the first piece of silverware for the season is up for grabs at 4.30pm.
The Young Commando will be watching with a keen interest.
An elderly gentleman was vaping at the bar and while we aren't big fans of that either, it did cast our minds back to pre March 2004 when smoking was legal in pubs and clubs.
It certainly is one thing we can always be grateful to Michéal Martin for in his time as Minister for Health, if nothing else.
We got the sense this pub has been undergoing renovation lately or maybe still is undergoing some décor updates especially in the area where we were seated. Bottles of hand sanitiser are available on each table and we'd imagine they're here to stay despite the return to normality from tomorrow morning.
None of our troops have an issue with that, no harm keeping your hands clean. We enjoyed our few (expensive) pints in Mullingar and enjoyed the local characters too.
Rating: Three pints out of Five
One for the road
Dolan’s – Mullingar
IS there a more famous name in the Lake County than Dolan? The Young Commando suggested ‘Horan’ but this pub brought back so many great memories of the showband era for the Old Commando and his old friend Joe Dolan.
A young curly haired barman was on duty when we dropped by for a quick pint of stout recently and 90 per cent of the clientele were middle-aged males who were watching Premier League football on each of the four TVs in the long narrow bar.
The fridges and shelves were well stocked and there was a brilliant atmosphere. The orange floor tiles were spotlessly clean and the green leather barstools were in excellent condition. Young Commando described the toilets as being in immaculate condition. A lovely boozer and it serves a nice pint too.
Rating: Four pints out of Five