Info - Portumna is a medium sized town in County Galway on the border with County Tipperary. You can find just about anything you might need in this town and there are many fine pubs and restaurants. The harbour on Lough Derg is at the boundary of Portumna forest park, 1500 acres of parkland with rich natural flora and fauna.
History - The name Portumna is derived from the Gaelic ‘Port Omna’ which means the crossing of the tree trunk. The Castle and estate in Portumna were originally owned by the Clanricard family, who were descendants of the de Burghs of Normandy granted extensive lands in Connaught in the thirteenth century. The castle was originally built in the seventeenth century by the fourth earl and was tested in the confederacy wars in 1651.Our Bit - Portumna is situated at the Northern end of Lough Derg. It can also be a forced stopping point due to Portumna Bridge which is so low that it will need to be opened for all boats. There is limited mooring to the south of the bridge and an Emerald Star marina immediately to the North. If travelling North up Lough Derg and you won't make it through the bridge there is mooring at Portumna Castle harbour which is on the northern shore of Lough Derg.
Whatever mooring you choose there is a long walk (at least a mile and half) from the moorings to the main village of Portumna. There is however a pub on the East side of the Shannon just over the bridge in a village called Portland, it is visible from the mooring at the bridge but we haven't visited it yet.
Portumna was the starting off point for our 2001 and visit. So as we revisited a few of our favourite haunts and added a new one to the list, these are by no means the only bars in Portumna but these are the one I've visited. The updated picture of Portumna bridge shows the Sunday rush hour of boats trying to navigate through the bridge for the 11:00 opening. We were one of the last boats going through travelling south and most of the boats beyond the bridge are waiting to come through. Motorists should avoid the area around the times of the opening as it could involve a long wait.
|● O'Meara's bar and Restaurant is the first bar you come to in the village if you are
approaching from the moorings at Portumna Bridge. Keep on the main road and you can't miss it. There was a sign to a bar called the Cat and Fiddle which gave the impression of being near, however
we never found it and returned to the main road.|
The bar along with the other shops near by all appeared to be called O'Meara's. The bar was modern with tables laid out in the conservatory at the front. The beer was most welcomed after the long walk and the food was excellent from an extensive menu. Locals as well as tourist where eating and drinking there which is always a good sign. I normally don't like modern bars, probably because of the plastic chain pubs that are appearing all over England, often destroying a traditional pub during the 'improvement'. However this plague does not appear to be happening in Ireland (ironic as some of the chain pubs in England are 'Irish' influenced). O'Meara's still retained the atmosphere of a traditional pub and I can highly recommend it.
June 2000Knowing the food here was excellent this was the ideal stopping point for our first meal in Ireland. The 2001 holiday almost turned in to a chowder hunt, as we tried to find a chowder to match that we had in Carrick on our first holiday. O'Meras did not let us down with a very good attempt certainly the best on this trip but not reaching the heights of the Oarsman's one.
● Having slacked our thirst and ate at O'Meara's we headed further along the village to try to find Martin's Bar which had been recommended on another web site. This however was closed so we decided
to settle into An Caislean which was a few doors down. This is a traditional small Irish bar which also has live music most nights. It was noticeable that live music was more common on the southern
Shannon than we found in the north last year. The pub served excellent Guinness and the small size of the bar provided a friendly atmosphere, especially when the traditional music started. The
musicians played traditional Irish music on a tin whistle and a banjo. They where later joined by one of the bar staff on acoustic guitar, and she sang as well. The live music was excellent and was
nice way to finish our stay in Portumna. The only thing spoiled the evening was the thought of the walk back to the boat, this however we postponed as long possible.
June 2000Regular visitors to this site would have noticed that the bar has changed names from Flynn's to An Caislean, this was put down to my lack of understanding of Gaelic and a temporary amnesia which is a well known side effect of Guinness. Again the pub proved to be a worth while visit but we discovered that music is only performed on Fridays and Sundays. This year the artists were a pair of guitarist playing a mix of traditional and modern music. Personally a preferred last years more traditional music but all in all another good night.
M. C. Stronge
● M. C. Stronge's is a small bar almost directly opposite An Caislean.
The bar is fairly small and divided into two area, the second and larger of the two had a small TV. The decor was mainly in pine and added to a light airy atmosphere which is somewhat unusual in
Other Portumna Bars or Bar/Restaurants not visitedWe have not yet visited the places below, and therefore any comments have been taken from the www, and are not by me.
Sean Henry Pub
The Boat House
Comments and additional material on the bars in this area are always welcome.
I can be contacted on Neil MacPherson.
Last Updated 22nd December 2004 - Neils Travel Web - Ireland - Portumna - Pubs