Out West for a New Year’s Pub Quest

Fine Beach at Liscannor Bay, Lahinch

The fine beach at Liscannor Bay, Lahinch, Co. Clare

Our journey begins in the blustery village of Lahinch, which sits perched on the western edge of Ireland staring out proudly into gorgeous Liscannor Bay towards the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Well, truth be known, our journey began some twelve months previous, of a brisk January eve in the familiar surrounds of the Doheny & Nesbitt pub back in Dublin. If we’re being totally frank here, it could likely even be traced back to a few shifty swigs of Linden Village cider under an old railway bridge a full near twenty years previous but let’s not go there. It’s far too early in the morning and the stiff Atlantic gusts would cut right through you.

The reason we’re here is to visit one Tom Frawley, who officially / unofficially (who really administers such idle debate?) is the oldest working publican in the isle of Ireland at a refreshing ninety-one years young. Supposedly, Tom pulled his first pint of Guinness at the age of nine, which – if you ignore the potential pitfalls of such precocious endeavour – is rather an astounding achievement, you’d have to admit.

P. Frawley Pub, Lahinch

Unfortunately Frawleys Pub was closed at the time of  our visit in January

Sadly, as fate would have it, Tom has taken ill some two to three months back and while he has thankfully recovered somewhat, he’s still not well enough to man his lovely ‘P. Frawley‘ pub which sits sleeping with shutters closed in his absence. Given that we were originally due to make a visit here last August, we really are cursing ourselves. Anyway, Get Well Soon Tom, we hope that we can still share that pint or two and tale or three with you like so many before us over the past what, eighty years or so?

It’s January 2011 and there is a tangible sense of change and possibility in the air. A small hell-for-leather contingent of surfers are still braving the waves and in spite of the seemingly endless dance between competing sunshine and rain showers, no doubt the golfers are getting their swings in too. For our part, we’re starting our quest in earnest this year, to find (and enjoy en route!) the finest, old pubs of tradition and distinction in Ireland. We’ve done plenty of ‘research’ so far, mostly through our incipient pub travels last year, which have already brought us to some classic Irish drinking establishments, but more on that later. With Frawley’s closed for business, the project of the weekend became to find the best pub in Lahinch; aka. a pubcrawl with a purpose.

It became obvious fairly quickly to whom this mighty accolade would go. We agreed unanimously. When I say ‘we’, I mean myself and, Angelika, the woman I love or from your viewpoint the other resident blogger here on “R.E. Public House” and our official ‘Pub Photographer’. Oh, and of course, now that you’re here too, well that ‘we’ encompasses you too, but well you’re here in retrospect so I’m afraid that the votes have already been cast.

The result of our findings on this occasion, Lahinch’s finest: Kenny’s Pub.

– Words: Damien Smyth

– Photos: Angelika Appelqvist

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Filed under Co. Clare Pubs, Pubs

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