WHAT the Old Commando would have given to be able to visit Co Cavan in 2020.
“I can’t believe they waited 23 years to win an Ulster championship and there was nobody at it and the pubs were closed,” the Old Commando sighed as we crossed the Meath/Cavan border along the N3.
“Not that it wasn’t still special for them, I’m sure it was, but if ever a group of men earned a few pints it was them.”
“I doubt they were thirsty that night somehow or another,” the Young Commando replied.
We arrived to Co Cavan for the first time in over two years and were met by a sea of black and amber flags, jerseys and advertisement boards congratulating Ramor United on their recent senior football championship success.
We were perhaps a bit late to join the celebrations that took place afterwards, but the Old Commando was sure there would still be one or two “hangers on” in the pubs willing to chat.
We decided to check out The Whistle Stop pub on Main Street as none of our troops had ever been here before.
Once we had signed in at the front door, a bubbly red haired barmaid checked our Covid certs and took our order immediately.
We moved on to the raised upper section where most of the clientele were sitting and had our pints of stout delivered to our table.
Costing just €4.50 and served in the old style tumbler, they really hit the spot with our travelling party.
The barmaid was also a particular highlight from our visit. Described as a ‘gas character’ by some of the locals, she advised us all that she had gone to great lengths doing her makeup to try look her best for her customers.
While we didn’t catch her name, we did appreciate the efforts she went to! Bar staff with such good personalities aren’t as common as you’d expect.
There was a predominately male clientele with football and horse racing the main interests of the locals. There was a TV behind the counter in both sections of the pub and also a jukebox in the upper section.
Each table had its own bottle of hand sanitiser and the timber flooring and tiled sections were both spotlessly clean.
Birra Moretti, Coors and Carling were all available on draught and the swivel barstools were in great condition as was the bench seating in the lower section of the pub.
We enjoyed the atmosphere but no doubt it was a lot quieter than two weeks ago when Ramor United lifted their fifth senior football crown after their four points win over Gowna.
“United is an unusual name for a GAA team, isn’t it, boss?” the Young Commando asked his older colleague.
“They’re named after Lough Ramor,” one punter told us. “And it’s the three old teams in the parish united,” he added.
Two Ramor jerseys hang proudly in the window of this pub and the town in general seems to still be buzzing following the victory. The toilets were sparkling clean during our stay with a nice fresh scent, a stainless steel urinal, one cubicle and the electric dryer worked.
We noticed the pub is running a Christmas draw with plenty of prizes on offer and the Young Commando remarked that the draw is due to take place on December 23.
“I really hope for publicans’ sake, society’s sake and the economy’s sake the pubs are still allowed open by then,” he said.
We enjoyed our few pints in this football mad town and the barmaid in particular was a pleasure to meet.
Rating: Three pints out of Five
One for the road
James Matthews – Virginia
The Old Commando has always had a soft spot for this pub and can’t seem to pass the door without calling in any time we’re in the area.
He loves it and we can see why. It’s a lovely boozer and there was a great atmosphere during our most recent stay. The barman was casual and laid back but still managed to tend to everyone efficiently.
The front bar was busy as the locals watched the live football and there are also at least three large screen TVs in the second section of the pub.
There are no less than five plaques behind the counter of awards this
pub received over the years and the
obligatory framed Cavan football jersey was on display.
The toilets were, as expected, spotlessly clean.
Rating: Four pints out of Five