Pubspy - Gowran, Co Kilkenny | 

This Gowran pub is a Cleere winner with us as friendly barman served up €5 pints

We were made to feel very welcome and we’d certainly have no qualms about calling again some day.

Cleeres in Gowran need to update their price list on the door

PubspySunday World

Cleere’s – Gowran, Co Kilkenny

APART from our Old Commando, none of our travelling party had ever been to the small town of Gowran in east Kilkenny.

The Young Commando had heard of it but knew little about the town other than it had a race track and that he often had a flutter on a race here over the years.

It took us just over 90 minutes to get here from HQ and the Old Commando was scratching his head as he tried to recall the last time he had been to the area.

“It’s not like me, but I just can’t remember the last time I was here,” he said as our designated driver parked the pub-mobile in the public car park outside Cleere’s pub.

“I’d say it is well over 15 years since I was here, maybe 20 years. I’d say things have changed ever so slightly,” he added.

The other pub nearby appears to be closed down, so we strolled into Cleere’s lounge where a good man named Jim, an experienced barman it would seem, was standing waiting to take our order.

Our travelling party took their seats across from the counter while the Old Commando placed our order and made small talk with the locals perched beside the taps.

“Did you watch the rugby?” the barman asked the Old Commando as he topped off the creamy pints of plain. “Wasn’t it a cracking win?” he continued.

As the Old Commando dropped our pint tumblers on to our table he told us they cost €5 each but the Young Commando was quick to interject and question him.

“Are you sure? They’re advertised at the front door as costing €4.50. They better get that price-list updated fairly quickly if that’s the case,” the Young Commando said.

There was a mixed clientele in the pub during our visit, ranging from early thirties to early sixties and a very relaxed country atmosphere.

The brown leather bench seating was in good condition and the timber flooring was spotlessly clean.

The large solid fuel stove was lit and there was a large wicker basket beside it full of fuel.

Just inside the front door in the raised seating area we noticed a gaming machine, while the Young Commando advised us there is a pool table in the bar at the rear of the pub.

There is a large variety of drinks available on draught, with a Smirnoff cocktail tap as well as Coors, Rockshore and Heverlee Belgian beer.

A Kilkenny flag and two registration plates (14-KK-Liam and 15-KK-Liam) are on display behind the counter as well as a signed hurley — a feature you’ll find in almost every pub in the Marble County.

There are numerous horse racing photos from the local Gowran race track hanging proudly on the wall across from the counter while the 2014 Kilkenny and 2002 Young Ireland’s senior hurling teams are also featured.

“It would have been some job trying to stop that Young Ireland’s forward line back in the day.

“They had DJ Carey and Charlie Carter, 12 All-Stars between them,” the Old Commando said.

Our Young Commando was on toilet inspection duty this week and he said they were clean, featured two stainless steel urinals and one cubicle with a fancy marble-looking toilet seat and lid.

“Must be because we’re in the Marble County,” the Young Commando quipped.

We enjoyed our few pints in Cleere’s pub and enjoyed the company of the barman Jim.

We were made to feel very welcome and we’d certainly have no qualms about calling again some day.

Rating: Three pints out of Five

One for the road…

Loughlin - Gowran

Pub Spy agrees with the over-18 drinking law. In fact, the Old Commando is an advocate for increasing that age.

One other thing he’d love to enforce is a complete ban on children in pubs, and following our visit to Loughlin’s pub in Gowran that belief was reinforced.

We liked Loughlin’s pub, it is old school, and even the photos of the successful hurling teams were old despite their success this century with the 1992 and 2000 winning teams featuring on the wall of fame.

The solid pine timber counter is in good condition as are the brown leather barstools.

Rockshore lager and cider are just some of the beers available on draught alongside the Danish brew, Tuborg.

The toilets were quite basic but there were traces of cigarette butts in each of the three urinals.

We left after one round frustrated by the parents who paid no attention to their child or what they were doing.

Rating: Three pints out of Five

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