Local hostelry features in top 20 list of best Irish pubs

JJ Hough’s pub in Banagher.

JJ Hough’s pub in Banagher features in Lonely Planet’s new list naming 20 of the best pubs in Ireland for pints, music and the time of your life.

According to the travel website, the Offaly pub is known for being a great stopping off point for boating on the River Shannon.

“Tucked amongst thriving vines with a soothing dark interior, JJ Houghs in Banagher is a 250-year-old pub long celebrated for its charm and the warm welcome of its owner. Descriptions of the place range from ‘quirky’, ‘idiosyncratic’ to ‘ individualistic’ so you know a unique experience is in store.”

“It’s a popular spot with boaters taking river cruises in the nearby majestic River Shannon. JJ’s also serves pizza and cocktails, and by all accounts, the espresso martinis are a house special.”

Owner of the Banagher pub, Ger Hough said “It’s always great to get recognition for all the hard work we do. The industry was already in decline before Covid with the dawn of social media. Social habits have changed a lot.”

Mr Hough said that different things led to the decline of the pub industry. “One time people met in the bar to barter and meet someone. Now they just go on Tinder.”

The local publican adapted to the changes in the industry during the pandemic by introducing deliveries and takeaway cocktails. Mr Hough describes the popular pub as “one of the few enduring pubs in a quickly changing world.”

He believes that the Midlands often gets skipped over when it comes to funding and publicity. “It’s great to be named on the list, especially for the Midlands. A lot of the time it doesn’t get the attention or funding that Dublin and the Wild Atlantic Way get.”

JJ Hough’s reacted to the news of making the esteemed list by commenting on social media: “We are delighted to be named by the prestigious Lonely Planet as one of the best 20 Pubs in Ireland to have a pint.

It was also lovely to get recognition for our delightful caramel infused Espresso Martini as concocted by master mixologist New York trained Tessa Hough.”

The list included 20 pubs that people should bookmark for their travels across Ireland.

Lonely Planet describes the Irish pub as “an essential part of Ireland’s culture, and it is within these walls that you can enjoy creamy pints, find the cosiest snugs, and experience the friendliest of welcomes.”

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