Pubspy - Castlerea The very reasonable €4.50 pints in this Castlerea boozer are smooth as Silke's
Castlerea boozer is tops for atmosphere and chat
Silkes Bar - Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
AS the Rossies headed for Croker, the pub-mobile was heading out west.
The Old Commando was still in a state of depression after last weekend's final round of National League football games.
His beloved Dubs have been relegated to Division Two and for the first time ever there'll be no Leinster team in Division One.
He was very down in the dumps. The Young Commando said we needed to be considerate and get out of the capital for the weekend so the Old Commando could avoid the crowds all traipsing to Croke Park, but once we had left HQ and cleared the county boundary he broke the news that we were heading to Roscommon, a team that had just replaced Dublin in the top flight.
"There'll be a great aul' atmosphere up here in Castlerea with Roscommon playing this weekend in the final," the Young Commando said as he attempted to irritate his grieving colleague.
"You'll be able to pick up loads of tips for next year from the locals," he continued with a grin on his face.
After a two-and-a-half hour drive we finally arrived in Castlerea and with a parking spot right outside the door, Silke's bar became our chosen destination.
The Old Commando had been here before and told us he enjoyed the occasion and that the porter wasn't bad either.
We were welcomed immediately by the friendly barman on duty, who we think was named Colin/Colm, but we weren't expecting such a strong accent.
We could barely understand him when he engaged with the locals but it was a little bit clearer when he spoke to us directly.
The same went for the male customers sitting at the counter, but we can confirm that there were plenty of good characters here and plenty of yarns being spun.
We had a ball listening to the locals telling stories of some of the shenanigans that people were getting up to, even though we didn't know any of the people involved.
"Those thick west accents make them stories even funnier," the Young Commando laughed.
The atmosphere was very good and there was a real country feel to the pub where everybody seemed to know everybody, mostly by nickname.
The creamy pints of Guinness were relatively cheap by today's standards, costing just €4.50, and they were top quality.
The red velvet bench seating and matching barstools were all in good condition and the stone faced fireplace is a lovely feature at the end of the room.
There is just one TV in the corner of the pub but nobody was paying much attention to it.
A framed Ireland rugby jersey hangs proudly on the wall and there is also a collage of Ireland rugby photos which brought back some great memories.
As the Young Commando went to inspect the toilets he noticed a mirror in the hallway commemorating the 2002 World Cup and we gasped as we realised it's approaching twenty years since the infamous Saipan incident.
That's sure to dominate the headlines in two months' time.
The toilets were in decent condition with one cubicle and three urinals but one of the sink taps was broken.
Overall, we had a good time in Silke's pub and the Old Commando said it certainly helped keep his mind off Dublin's woes last weekend.
The porter was good, the bar staff were good and the yarns were hilarious - although quite possibly best kept quiet, just in case they were true!
Rating: Three pints out of Five
One for the road
The Kilmore Inn – Ballinlough
THIS was a first for Pub Spy and the team. We love to check out new venues and we’d never been to this one before.
A red-haired barmaid with glasses served us as soon as we arrived but she was the only female in the building.
It was an all male clientele and horse racing and football dominated the landscape as the punters discussed Roscommon’s return to Division One football. The Old Commando kept his head down.
The blue velvet barstools were in good condition and there was a bottle of hand sanitiser on each table. The turf fire was burning away and the tiled flooring was spotlessly clean.
Our Young Commando inspected the toilets and said two sink taps were broken and the soap dispenser had been removed from the wall.
Rating: Three pints out of Five
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