Trip to Wicklow a treat as we sipped creamy €4.70 pints in Dunlavin Burkes
First impressions are so important and this boozer is certainly in need of some TLC – starting with a few coats of paint
Burkes – Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow
IT was the summer of 2017 when Pub Spy and the team last paid a visit to Dunlavin, a small village on the Kildare/Wicklow border.
“When you think of 2017 it’s hard to believe it’s now six years ago. Where is the time going at all?” the Old Commando said as we arrived on the wide streets of Dunlavin.
Ireland isn’t the biggest country in the world, so Pub Spy has always placed a strong emphasis on revisiting pubs to ensure they’re maintaining their standards, and Burkes bar was on our radar as soon as our designated driver advised us we were going to Wicklow this week.
The Old Commando had fond memories of Burkes and reminded us that we had promised to call again someday – although we didn’t think it would take almost six years for it to happen.
We parked on the main street and walked towards Burkes pub and the first thing we noticed was the dreary state of the exterior.
First impressions are so important and this boozer is certainly in need of some TLC – starting with a few coats of paint and repair work to the damaged timber panel at the front door.
Thankfully, we didn’t let the exterior derail us and we ploughed ahead with our plans to check out the pub.
There was a mixed clientele, predominately young to middle-aged, and the vast majority of the customers were either seated at the bar or huddled in that general area.
A young barman was on duty and our Commandos took an instant shine to him. He was a good character, well able to engage with the customers and he took our order immediately.
Pints of Guinness will cost you €4.70, which represents just over 17 per cent of an increase from the €4 they cost us in 2017. Birra Moretti, Orchard Thieves and Carling are also available on draught and, surprisingly enough, the Christmas lights are still draped around the counter canopy over the bar, although they were not turned on.
A gas heater just inside the front door was warming the bar and the green barstools and bench seating were in decent condition.
The timber flooring was well worn but swept clean and there are at least three TVs throughout the pub.
The jukebox was switched off, much to the delight of the cantankerous Old Commando, who spent most of his time reading some old newspaper clippings of match reports about the local GAA football team.
“I see they won a championship since we were last here,” he said to us. “A few pints were drank that week, I’d say!”
There are plenty of GAA-related photographs hanging in the pub, including one of the aforementioned 2019 side that won the Intermediate championship, as well as the 1992 Intermediate league champions and the Wicklow side that captured the Tommy Murphy cup back in 2007 under the great Micko.
On the opposite side of the bar is a small snug-style area with a dartboard and cigarette machine and some horse racing pictures.
Nobody was playing darts during our visit, but the atmosphere at the bar was very lively and we enjoyed sitting back in our seats and soaking it all in.
The toilets are quite basic, with two cubicles and a ceramic urinal, with paper towels provided to dry your hands. Most importantly, however, they were clean so we couldn’t fault them.
We enjoyed our few rounds of drinks in Burkes bar in Dunlavin and hopefully when the weather improves the exterior will receive a much-needed facelift.
Rating: Three pints out of Five
One for the road…
Garett’s Bar – Dunlavin
AS we passed Garrett’s Bar we were sure it was closed. You can’t see into the pub due to the frosted glass and the door was shut, but our Young Commando was adamant he heard noise from within.
Luckily enough we chanced our arm and it was in fact open and, what’s more, was enjoying a lively trade.
There was a mixed clientele of mostly young to middle-aged customers and we were served by a friendly blonde barmaid.
The bar was very warm and cosy and we really enjoyed the atmosphere too. It was very clean, there are two TVs, one either end of the counter, a jukebox and a cigarette machine.
The grey-coloured velvet barstools and bench seating were in good condition and there was a pot of flowers on each table.
Our Young Commando gave the toilets a quick inspection before we departed and he reported back that they were also clean.
Rating: Three pints out of Five
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