Lowry’s Irish Pub – Clifden
At first glance, Lowry’s Irish pub is probably not the type of pub in which you would expect to find an extensive selection of Irish whiskeys, though if you look a little closer, the window display will have given you an indication of what you can expect. What will probably have tempted you to wander in are the sounds of an Irish fiddle and bodhran drifting through the quiet streets of Clifden. Indeed, Lowry’s Irish pub is famous around these parts for its traditional Irish music sessions, which usually happen 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday) from St. Patrick’s Day to 1 November every year.
Lowry’s Irish pub has been in the same family since 1949. It is currently managed by Ailish, but it is Ailish' father, Patrick Lowry, a retired garda sergeant from Donegal, who can be credited with starting the whiskey collection. He was interested in whiskey and so always kept a good stock in the bar, to which he added different bottles as the fancy took him. Lowry’s Pub at the latest count had 116 whiskeys in total, more or less evenly split between Irish and Scotch, with a couple of Japanese whiskies thrown in for good measure. The good news is that they are not just for decoration, but are all for sale, so Lowry’s is a good spot to discover some new Irish whiskeys or rediscover some old favourites. Ask for Damien or Amanda behind the bar, both are interested in whiskey and should be able to guide you in your choice and Lowry's also has a whiskey menu, so do check it out if the array of whiskies is making the decision very difficult!
Lowry’s is a typical small friendly Irish pub and offers a soup/sandwich/snack menu. If you fancy something more substantial, Clifden - in the heart of Connemara country and at the western edge of Europe - has several fine restaurants, with seafood often a local speciality. Enhanced by spectacular bogland and coastal scenery, Clifden is a good base from which to enjoy Connemara. There are nearby championship golf courses, and hill walking and horse riding are also popular activities. Clifden also hosts regular sales of the famous Connemara ponies and they are frequent sights in the patchwork of stone walls and green fields which makes up much of Connemara. The 11km circular Sky Road in Clifden is also one of the best tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region.
Clifden also has another famous “whiskey” story. Guglielmo Marconi, a great-grandson of John Jameson, the founder of the Jameson Distillery in Dublin, built his first high power transatlantic long wave wireless telegraphy station four miles south of the town. The first point-to-point fixed wireless service connecting Europe with North America opened for public service with the transmission of 10,000 words on 17 October 1907. At peak times, over 400 people were employed by the Clifden wireless station, but none more famous than Jack Phillips, who later died as the heroic chief Radio Operator on the Titanic. The Marconi Station is now mostly in ruins (it was destroyed in 1922 during the Irish civil war), but it makes for a very enjoyable walk and the Station House Museum in Clifden has many artefacts dating back to this time. The Jameson Distillery commemorated Guglielmo Marconi in 1995 with a Special Edition Marconi whiskey, which is now extremely hard to find.
The West of Ireland is very much about a different pace of life, so enjoy the peace and quiet of Connemara, some good local food, then settle down into Lowry’s for an evening of great music. And do take some time browsing through Lowry’s Whiskey Collection… rumour has it there may just be a bottle of Marconi whiskey on a back shelf.
Lowry's Irish Pub - Market Street, Clifden, Co. Galway
Tel. +353 (0)95 21347