I’m sure there were many punters who almost fell off their bar stools to read that Jim of the Mills won the Irish Times Pub of the Year 2015. If there is an establishment that uses its USP to its full advantage, it’s Jim of the Mills. For anyone who hasn’t yet had the truly unique experience of visiting this bar, you can read the Times review here and the Irish Central article here.
To describe the place as a pub is a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s like 3 rooms in the house that are dedicated to the the craic. I describe them as rooms because this place is literally a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere somewhere close to Upperchurch in Tipperary. Patrons are thirsty because they were all night trying to find the establishment in the first place. You deserve a drink for finding the house. I’ve been several times and even still I don’t think I could make it alone. If you didn’t know what it was, it would be reasonable to assume that the rows of cars outside the house were for a station mass or something similar.
Upon arrival, there are people literally spilling out of the bar. There’s that uniquely Irish feel the minute you walk in. The bar is small enough and the family are flat out serving drinks. The money goes into a till that is so old, it’s almost a national treasure. There are the lucky few who got seats at the bar providing jokes for the waiting punters.Everyone knows everyone and even if they don’t know you when you arrive, they’ll know loads about you by the time you leave!
The craic is mighty, of that there is little doubt. In fact, the craic is so great that they have to contain it to Thursday nights, the only night the bar opens. As a result, anyone who is anyone flocks there, as much for the craic as for the weekly session. There are people playing instruments in every corner of the two inner rooms. The place is always jammers so the last time we played there, I sat in the window. Although you’d nearly melt beside the open fire, there is something so authentic as enjoying a pint while listening to great music, beside the turf fire in the middle of winter.
And the people! I’ve never met such interesting characters in my life. There’s always someone to talk to. I’ve never left without a good story or two. Dotted though the night are the occasional ssshhhhes as people try to listen to a song or story. I’ve also never left hungry. Believe it or not, you get fed! Sometimes it’s cake and sometimes sandwiches but whatever it is, you are always taken care of.
One part of me wants to call the people in Lonely Planet and tell them to add this place to their Tipperary section and the other part of me wants to keep it hidden. Like so many great places in Ireland, over exposure ruins what made them so great to begin with so perhaps we should keep Jim of the Mills to ourselves for another while. It’s hugely exciting that they won the Times Pub of the Year 2015. They are doing everything right and will hopefully continue to do so long into the future.