The Fisherman’s Thatched Inn

The Fisherman’s Thatched Inn: A gem in the heart of rural Laois

Visited Saturday 31st Oct 2015

This Co Laois gem, located at a rural crossroads near Monasterevin could be easily missed as its off the beaten track, but don’t make that mistake because this pub is rather special. Judging a pub from the outside can be as misleading as judging a book by its cover but in this case the inviting exterior with a traditional thatch, sash windows and garden area to the rear is matched by an equally appealing interior that feels cosy, comfortable and nostalgic. Four of us arrived late afternoon on a beautiful Halloween day to find a great turf fire burning in the hearth, with four small armchairs and a round table positioned in front. It felt like a homecoming, though we’d never set foot in the pub before.

Fisherman's The Thatch Onn is one of only a few thatched pubs in Ireland
The Fisherman’s Thatched Inn, one of only a few thatched pubs in Ireland

The Fisherman’s is replete with memorabilia, fishing related (no surprises there), along with ceramic ornaments, glassware, old prints in dark wood antique frames and the requisite pendulum clock. The collection of whiskey jugs suspended above the bar is a nod to the pub’s whiskey credentials – it’s on the Whiskey Trail of Ireland and stocks over 100 varieties. Another visual clue is provided by the musical instruments displayed on the walls, a hint at the twice weekly music sessions that are hosted here.

St Patrick on the dresser - note pint in hand
St Patrick on the dresser – note pint in hand

We visited in Autumn, but in the warmer months I can imagine this being an equally appealing place. The rear garden area has plenty of picnic tables for outdoor drinking and there is also a small bright lounge area at the opposite end of the bar to the fireplace with traditional shuttered windows that overlook the garden.

This pub has history built into in its walls, it was first established in the 16c with latter additions to the building in the 18th and 19th centuries. The publican, John Ward, who has been at the helm for the past 20 years, told me that the pub is located on the oldest road in Ireland which St Patrick himself traversed. I believe it’s a road that comes up through the country via Cashel, Co Tipperary and Laois heading towards Dublin and leaves Dublin though my own neighbourhood of Stoneybatter (batter being a derivative of bóthar – meaning “road” in Irish) and heads onwards north-bound to the Neolithic burial chambers at Newgrange which were built 5,000 B.C. (yes – that’s older than they pyramids).

Our fireside table
Our fireside table

The Fisherman’s has a lot to offer, the building has a backroom with a pool table and a small function room with doors that fold open onto the bar for parties of up to 40 people or so. These rooms have wooden floor boards and reflect the traditional look of the bar area, while being more rough and ready in style.

In my conversation with John he mentioned something in passing about the importance of providing comfortable seats and it struck me that this is a man who has the wellbeing and happiness of his customers at heart, which is surely the sign of a great publican. I promise you, this pub is worth the detour.

Specialities: A “Whiskey Trail of Ireland” pub, over 100 varieties stocked.

Dogs: Welcome “once they settle and don’t bark too much”.

Music: Traditional Irish music session Tuesday’s from 8pm, local musicians Sunday night from 8pm.

Nearby: Visit Emo Court and gardens.

The Fisherman’s Thatched Inn
Fisherstown
Ballybrittas
Co Laois

http://www.the-fishermans.com/

Mobile Phone:0872324698
Pub: +353 57 862 6488

Visit Justine’s Great Pubs of Ireland – Days for the High Stool map

A window seat with a beautiful stained glass panel
Window seat with stained glass panel
View from the front door, onto the
View from the front door, onto the “oldest road in Ireland”
Behind the bar with John Ward
Behind the bar with John Ward
The Fisherman's Thatch Inn garden seating
The Fisherman’s Thatch Inn garden seating
fishermans_interior_03
Small lounge area with windows onto the garden
Justine's Great Pubs of Ireland - Days for the High Stool Map
Click on the map to visit Justine’s Great Pubs of Ireland – Days for the High Stool, full listing.
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