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Sunday 3rd May 1998

    Pub Spy at Guinan's, Ballyluskey, Co. Tipperary.
    "A decent drink at a reasonable price.
    A friendly place to go for a good nights craic."

    PUB SPY has gained the reputation of being a hard-nosed sleuth. A man with the moral mission to see decent standards are upheld in the course of drinking.

    Even with his crack team of commandos to support him all the way it was still a lonely job. The decision to give the thumbs up or down to a boozer rested solely on Pub Spy’s shoulders but he bore the drinking burden well. To Pub Spy it was always just a job. He was under orders to frequent the public houses of this land, a dirty job but somebody had to do it. Yet, in all his years of snooping in bars on the highways and byways of Ireland he had found few he could say he could call a home from home.
    But a home from home was what Pub Spy found when he took a wrong turn in South Tipp.

    Guinan’s Pub in Ballyluskey, near Drangan he thought must be the best kept secret in the land. Pub Spy thanked his lucky stars he had stumbled upon the bar because he would never have found it otherwise. Located off the beaten track, halfway up a mountain Guinan’s proved to be a gem among the many pubs dotted across the country.

    Pub Spy’s enthusiasm knew no bounds when he ordered a pint of Arthur. Out of sheer habit he handed in three pounds. He knew he had change coming to him but the amount he got back was enough to nearly topple the seasoned sleuth off his stool.

    Just as Pub Spy had given up on ever finding a decent drink, at a reasonable price he found Guinan’s. At £1.80 a pint, Pub Spy had finally learned that it wasn't an urban myth that some rural pubs still gave a good pint and change out of £2. It might have been just pennies in the difference but Pub Spy knew from his many drinking sessions that the pennies could amount to a drink or two extra at the end of the night.

    The feel-good-factor induced by the cheap prices was enough to persuade Pub Spy to stay past his normal investigative time. The decision to stay was a good one and soon Pub Spy settled in for a night of good drink and craic. The decor of Guinan’s seemed to be accidentally trendy. Wallpaper, like all other trends will come back into fashion if you leave it long enough. The seventies style wallpaper in Guinan’s might have been the original but with the retro-swing in fashion it passed with flying colours.

    There were enough cosy corners to remain anonymous if you wanted to but the hard-nosed drinking veteran soon found himself in the middle of a sing-song.
    To be one of the ‘in’ crowd all that was needed was a good lung capacity and the ability to belt out a few bars of a tune, even if they were off-key.

    It was a reluctant Pub Spy that called "time" to his drinking knowing there were few pubs ahead of him which he could settle into as easily. Before slinging his hook, the professional in him demanded he check the facilities. A quick glance in the toilets confirmed that everything was spick and span, so he was off.

    With a backward glance Pub Spy longed for the days when he had a bar to call his ‘local’ if he had to have one he reckoned it would be Guinan’s. Retirement for Pub Spy was still a long way off, though.

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