Pubspy - Portumna | 

We find a €4.30 pint in this fine Galway boozer

Curley's bar in Portumna wins out on price


A lot has changed since the last time we visited, with the unwanted arrival of Covid-19 and a wave of excitement with the arrival of the King himself, Henry Shefflin.

While we're becoming more optimistic that the pandemic is coming to an end, the King's reign in charge of the Galway senior hurling has only just began and the Old Commando was eager to gauge the locals' reaction to his appointment.

It's a two hour drive from HQ to the south east of Galway and with closing time at 8pm it didn't leave us much time for hanging about. As we arrived on the main street of Portumna it struck us how many shops and pubs were closed and judging by their exterior we presumed they're permanently closed.

One pub that was open for business was Curley's bar and the Old Commando wasn't wasting any precious time looking for alternatives.

"This is will do nicely," he said as he ploughed in the front door and along the hallway leading to the bar.

"Would you look at that," the Young Commando said as he pointed to a photo in the hallway.

"Looks like you guys might have been here before." Indeed, "I doubt we'll be so lucky today," the Old Commando joked.

A friendly barmaid was on duty when we arrived and the Young Commando placed our order at the counter.

Both the barmaid and the locals were very engaging and pleasant and the Young Commando returned to our table with a huge smile on his face.

"We have a new winner," he said straight away. "Pints of Guinness are only €4.30, the cheapest we've come across since pubs reopened."

Not only were they keenly priced, they were delicious.

Within ten minutes the Young Commando was dispatched to order round two.

The barmaid and barman who arrived during our stay were both wearing face masks the entire time they were working and our Covid passports were also requested.

There was an all male clientele in the front bar and brilliant atmosphere among the locals.

There were at least three TVs in the pub with each of them showing a different live sport.

The orange/brown floor tiles were spotlessly clean and the yellow coloured bench seating and barstools were in good condition too.

Most of the debate at the bar was centred on the Galway senior hurling team and whether enough young players have been blooded into the team since their 2017 All-Ireland success.

What they wouldn't give to see another prodigy like Joe Canning emerge around these parts.

As you'd expect in Portumna, hurling is huge and this pub is decorated throughout with photos of successful Galway and Portumna photos from down the years.

The Galway teams that lifted the Liam McCarthy cup in 1980, 1987 and 2017 all have pride of place just inside the front door while the Portumna glory days of All-Ireland club success in 2006, 2008 and 2009 is also commemorated.

The Young Commando inspected the toilets after round three and he told us they were very small but clean, with four urinals all within 2m of each other and one cubicle.

We really enjoyed our few drinks in Curley's bar in Portumna and vowed not leave it another 19 years before we call again.

Rating: Four pints out of Five

One for the road

Boathouse Bar - Portumna

Good bar staff, good pints of Guinness and a very good atmosphere.

The Boathouse Bar had it all during our stay.

It was very busy when we called to this boozer recently for a quick pint and the barman on duty summed up the feelings of every publican (and customer) in the country last week when he asked us for our vaccine passports and to sign in. “Sorry for badgering you” he said.

There was a mixed clientele in the front bar and at least three TVs showing live sports as the some of the elderly customers wearing their peak caps sat near the bar sipping their Powers Whiskey, a beautiful sight that we’ve sorely missed.

There is plenty of seating throughout the pub and the timber flooring was swept clean.

The toilets were small but clean and there is a newsagent and gift-shop located next door.

Rating: Three pints out of Five

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