Only Stools and Horses
OFFALY HOTSPOT SADDLES UP FOR SKIT ON BOOZY BRUNCH ANTICS
FORGET the shenanigans of trendy types in Dublin’s Berlin D2 bar last weekend, when it comes to party animals you won’t beat Banagher.
The Co. Offaly hamlet and popular tourist spot is certainly no one horse town, but the Sunday World found one horse that loves to party in the middle of the day.
Pub Spy tracked down the buckin’ bronco this week to Banagher’s quaint old pub, JJ Houghs, and it was no surprise to find that the horse didn’t have a long face in these thirsty times.
“Neigh bother,” the bartender had responded to the stallion’s order for drink.
The hunky, bare-chested barman in a waistcoat then sprung on to the counter and began pouring drink down the steed’s gullet!
Goats had gone into hiding and several calves scarpered when they spotted our super sleuth slipping into the world-famous hostelry that has been a magnet for tourists through the decades.
No self-respecting animal in the heart of Ireland wants to be snapped horsing down shots of booze at a half-baked brunch. That’s for the beautiful young people and hipsters up in the ‘Big Smoke’.
“You’re flouting the Covid-19 restrictions,” Pub Spy reminded the barman.
“Ah, that’s where you’re wrong,” came the reply. “Sure there’s nothing in the rules about serving drink to a horse!”
The hilarious scene had been created for the Sunday World by JJ Hough’s owner, Gerald Hough, who is famous for his spoof videos and has turned the tables on our intrepid Pub Spy in the past.
Earlier this week, Gerald posted a video on social media recreating footage from Dublin’s Berlin D2 bar last Saturday, showing a barman pouring drinks into customers’ mouths, some workers not wearing face masks and social distancing being ignored.
Berlin D2 bar owner Jay Bourke, who wasn’t there on the day, later described it as “20 seconds of madness” and said that after viewing CCTV footage the event had been “well controlled” apart from that incident.
In Hough’s video, Gerald takes on the role of Berlin’s barman, wearing similar attire and appearing to pour drink into the mouths of customers. However, when the video pans around his family pub there are no customers to be seen anywhere on the premises.
“If we wanted to make a video like that (Berlin D2) you’d be hard pressed to get lads up dancing over brunch in Banagher,” Gerald joked. “There’s not too many hipsters around here. The avocados can roam the streets of Banagher without fear of ending up on a slice of sourdough for brunch.
“The empty pub was a bit more poignant. Like every other publican and small business, the effects of the pandemic are very worrying for me. It’s a music pub and during the summer we’d be packed seven nights a week. We’d have lots of tourists coming off the River Shannon and obviously we didn’t see them this year.
“There has been a pub here on this site going back to the 1600s. JJ Houghs had been run by my father and my grandfather before me. It has weathered many a storm, but we’ve never seen anything like this in living memory.
“It’s very scary for our livelihoods. My wife and I have just had our first child, a young son who is only nine months old. The summer is almost over and that was our last chance to make a few bob.
“Ireland has tried the lockdown experiment, but unless it’s eradicated all over the world it will get back in here, so what do you do? Do you just lock down the place forever and sit and wait? You can’t do that.
“The Vintners [Association] should be pushing harder for pubs to open and operate like restaurants, but without food. You would have to book to come in and there would be limited numbers. I think customers would be happy to work with that system.”