O'Loclainn's Whiskey Bar

The Pub is a squarish room, small and dark; inside O'Lochlainn's its always three  in the morning. The only light seems to come from the combined glow of dozens of bottles of whiskey - more than 75 different brands - ranged along the shelves, and the dull glean of metal drawers, that 80 or 100 years ago, held sugar, shoes, tea and livestock feed.

Steven Speilberg described this unique and authentic pub as one of the best pubs that he has been in.

The following is an extract from an article in the New York Times travel supplement (October 2012):


But our favorite character of all was Margaret, the proprietor of a pub in Ballyvaughan, a tiny seaside village in the Burren, called O’Lochlainn. It opens at 8 every night unless Margaret happens to get her act together sooner or feels like dallying a bit. It specializes in whiskey. It’s essentially one quiet room — we could hear the ticking of a grandfather clock — crammed with antiques, old pictures, older maps and bric-a-brac, and it operates entirely by Margaret’s rules.

While she stocks over 400 whiskeys from around the world, she serves only 50 or so. The rest, crowding the shelves behind the bar, are for show. Don’t even think about trying to persuade her otherwise.

“It’s taken years and years to collect these,” she told us. “Be a shame to open them now. Won’t do it. Not unless the bank holds a gun to my head.”

We sipped a smooth, slightly sweet 12-year-old Irish whiskey blend called Yellow Spot and watched her fetch yet another crème de menthe for one of her regulars, who wanted it poured over crushed ice. There are modern ways to make such ice, and then there’s Margaret’s way, with a machine that must date to the Mesozoic Era, a hand crank and a deafening rattle. My heart ached as I watched, because I recognized stubbornness like hers. I lived with it from birth until I went to college.