“ Address: Main Street / Swords / Co. Dublin / Ireland / Tel: +353 (0)1 895 7445 „
Swords is a great little town quite close to Dublin Airport so it's a handy place to stay if you are flying out the next day or arriving too late to travel on.
The Old Boro is visited by me and my colleagues at least three or four times a year. It is on the main street opposite the Garda station. It is set back from the road with a fair amount of free parking in a newly landscaped carpark.
It has been open as a pub/restaurant for ten years having been a school for the previous 190 odd years! The inside has been rebuilt and restored and the first thing that impressed me about it was the feeling of space and comfort it afforded.
A lovely old clock hangs in front of the main, very impressive bar. The interior manages to mix the very modern with some interesting original features. Lots of large plants define some of the seating areas and there are some beautiful old tiles still gracing the floors. For me the decor is a success and it is obvious that the architects and interior designers knew their stuff and worked well together. There are a lot of different good sized rooms, all with a slightly different ambience but with no jarring notes. It's just a very pleasant place to hang out in.
When I was in there two weeks ago on a Sunday night, there was live entertainment at one end of the main bar. I have to say he murdered a few of my favourite tunes! Having said that, he was the first musician I have heard in there that I didn't enjoy. Usually the entertainers are of a decent standard. (He didn't sing for long so perhaps he was auditioning!) There are resident DJs too on Friday and Saturday nights.
Food is served in the Old Boro from lunchtime up until around 9pm. It is reasonably priced with a good selection of fairly standard pub fare. The food I have had there has always been hot, plentiful and very enjoyable. Compared to prices in other Dublin venues it is very reasonable. Service is prompt and cheerful. You actually feel as though the staff are happy to be there and happy to make sure you have everything you need. It is possible to book tables in advance if there is a large party of you wishing to eat but it's not normally necessary.
I have eaten the Barbary Duck there and it was absolutely delicious. It was around 14 Euros if I remember rightly. The beefburgers are cooked as you like them with a generous side of salad and chips. There is usually a 'Chefs special' which I have not tried but my colleagues have with great enjoyment.
Drinks are brought to your table promptly and the staff always have time for a bit of craic. In fact it's what pubs in Dublin used to be like before they decided that customers were a pain in the backside and were just there to be ripped off. If you've gone for a drink in Dublin in the last few years you'll know what I mean. Prices for drinks are slightly (but not massively) dearer than in the rest of Swords but there is a huge selection and the ales are well kept.
Friday and Saturday nights will often find the Old Boro very full! Large but courteous bouncers man the doors. The music is very lively and very loud and this is where you will find most of the night life in Swords. Being a grumpy old woman I try to avoid it on Saturdays but that's just me! Judging by it's popularity, they are certainly doing something right! If you are under the age of thirtyfive you will probably love it! (I'd probably love it too if they issued earplugs along with the Guiness!)
The bar is open until 12.30 am on Saturdays and 12 midnight every other night except Sundays which I think is 11pm closing.
I have a particular fondness for it because it is one of the few places I know in Ireland that has a large comfortably heated 'palm room' where you can sit in comfort and enjoy a pint and a ciggie and not annoy or inconvenience non smokers. A clever arrangement of covers and extensive overhead heaters ensure your dryness and warmth throughout the foullest of Irish winters! (And believe me, they have just had one of the worst winters on record!)
It is possible to hire rooms at The Old Boro' for private functions and I believe that some of the upstairs rooms have been or will be used for these. I haven't seen them and am only going on hearsay. If they are decorated to the same standard as the rest of the pub they will be very pleasant.
There is wheelchair access to most parts of the pub but some of the raised seating areas would present difficulties. The toilets I have visited are down some stairs and I don't know if there are more easily accessible toilets in parts of the pub that I haven't seen. I presume that there are but it would be best to check first.
This is a lovingly refurbished and welcoming place to eat and drink or just to sit with a coffee and read your paper. It is particularly relaxing during the day. It is staffed by well mannered and well trained people who talk to you as though you are a friend. I like it here and I think you would too.