As you park the car at Michael and Annemarie Coyne's neatly presented pub overlooking Kilkerrin Bay, donkeys in the field alongside amble over to the wall, inquisitive noses twitching at the prospect of food - a typical welcome to the Connemara Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area), and to this real old-fashioned Irish pub.
It’s a down to earth place, a million miles from the Irish theme pubs you find abroad. A door leads straight from the road into the bar and high stools stand around the wooden counter. To the left is the small restaurant; to the right the more comfortable bar seating.
With wooden flooring, white painted panelling on the walls and a tiled floor in the bar area, there’s no décor as such but it’s an interesting place all the same, with plenty to read on the walls, including old tobacco ads - and a copy of the 1916 proclamation - and large windows frame the view down to the pier and the sea.
If you’re thinking of eating (and you should), you can choose between the restaurant and the bar - or, in fine weather, you can sit outside at picnic tables set up to make the most of the beautiful view.
Food is one of the main reasons for visiting Coyne’s, as Annemarie is a chef with years of experience in Galway city under her belt and a desire to bring good food to Kilkerrin.
And the food has a deservedly good reputation. Menus are in both English and Irish, which gives a nice sense of place, and everything is cooked to order - the Coynes aim to give a proper informal dining experience, accessibly priced and catering for all tastes.
They take pride in everything that leaves the kitchen, beginning with really tasty basics like homemade soups - and particularly the speciality of the house, a delicious seafood chowder: thick and plentiful with good chunks of frseh local fish and served with a homemade brown scone, it’s a meal in itself.
Other simply good fish dishes depend on the catch but will usually include Atlantic fish and chips, or perhaps cod goujons, and there are many other popular dishes on the wide ranging menu including ciabattas, panini, pizza, tagliatelle carbonara, omelette, quiche and chicken curry among others.
For dessert, warm fudge chocolate cake will satisfy the chocoholic while comforting puddings like sticky toffee pudding or fruit crumble with crème anglaise and ice-cream should finish off a good meal here very nicely.
There’s a full bar, of course, offering the usual beers and so on, and also a range of coffees and teas - including, rather surprisingly in this remote setting, exotics like White tea, Green tea, Robios Tea and Pur-eh Tea.
A good place to know about.