The public house or pub is synonymous in Ireland as a social space and identity marker. Another structure associated with Irish identity is the thatched dwelling. With these two building types in mind what better is there to experience Irish heritage than a pub that is also thatched?
These hybrids are not as common in Ireland as you would think, so where they exist they should be celebrated. Here, traditional Irish design expert Marion McGarry outlines some of her favourite Irish pubs that have thatched roofs.
10. The Thatch Bar, Co. Limerick
Located in Castleroberts near Adare, a village known for its ‘landlord’ style thatch, however, the Thatch Bar is a beautiful example of local ‘vernacular thatch’. The building dates back to the 1700’s and is a renowned traditional music venue known for its charming atmosphere.
9. The Thatch, Co. Offaly
Located in the village of Crinkill, The Thatch Bar and Restaurant is one of the oldest pubs in Offaly. Once known as ‘Mother Walsh’s’ it has been owned by the same family for two centuries. It has a fine thatched roof and traditional Irish bar interior with tongue and groove panelling painted timbers and exposed brickwork.
8. Crosskeys Pub, Co. Antrim
Said to be Ireland’s oldest thatched pub the Crosskeys dates to 1654. It is approximately 30 minutes from Belfast, and is north of Lough Neagh. It has all the characteristics of a very old building such as uneven walls, stone floors and low ceilings with a roaring turf fire which creates a memorable atmosphere. It is a famous traditional music venue and is also noted for its ‘storytelling’ nights.
7. The Thatched Cottage, Co. Tipperary
The Thatched Cottage is located in Tipperary near scenic Lough Derg on the River Shannon. The building has been preserved and restored to its original state, and there is an appropriate old-world atmosphere within. It has a bar, a restaurant, a banqueting room, ‘Nell’s Cottage’ and a kids’ area.
6. The Old Thatch, Killeagh, Co. Cork
The Old Thatch pub has a beautifully thatched hipped roof and is one of the oldest thatched pubs in the south of Ireland, dating back to the 1660s. It has been owned and run by the same family for over 300 years and was renovated in 1962, with an inner ceiling made of Irish willow twig. It has a riverside beer garden and a restaurant.
5. Paddy’s Bar, Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo
Paddy’s bar in Tourmakeady dates back to the late nineteenth century and is a whitewashed thatched cottage on the shores of Lough Mask. In times past many Irish pubs also operated as grocery shops and Paddy’s Bar is no exception: villagers would go there to purchase paraffin oil, tea or a loaf of bread. Today Paddy’s is a mixture of old and new, as the original thatched house has been extended and modernized but retains its old world character. The bar has a roaring turf fire, eclectic ornaments and boasts a good pint of Guinness. Paddy’s also operates a restaurant in the summer months.
4. Ellen’s Pub, Maugherow, Co. Sligo
Ellen’s is, according to locals, ‘the oldest pub in Sligo’ said to date as far back as 1610. It is remotely located in in Maugherow in North Sligo near the Atlantic coast: its age-old thatched roof has made it a landmark in the vicinity. It is unsophisticated, with many original architectural features such as low doorways and a small counter, which give it an authentic feel. It has become well-known as a traditional music venue.
3. Anderson’s Thatched Pub, near Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
Anderson’s Thatched Pub is unique as, according to the owner, it is the only rye straw thatched pub in Ireland. It is also a listed building and a tavern has operated there since 1734. Inside there is a lovely collection of antiques and furniture. A pot-bellied stove which burns turf adds to the atmosphere. Andersons is also a lively traditional Irish music venue with on-site accommodation and a free caravan park for customers and it is close to Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon.
2. Moran’s Oyster Cottage, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway
Moran’s on the Weir at Kilcolgan Co. Galway is over 250 years old. It is a world famous pub and restaurant that proclaims itself ‘home of the Galway flat oyster’. Sited near the mouth of the Dunkellin and Clarenbridge Rivers, it is in an ideal location to avail of oysters. Moran’s serve these and other seafoods alongside their famous Irish brown bread.
1. The Beach Bar, Aughris, Co. Sligo
The reader might imagine this as the stuff of fantasy: a picture postcard thatched Irish cottage on a beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with stunning views of the distant mountain ranges. Inside the original cottage, eccentric trinkets line the walls from old fishing paraphernalia to Irish cottage dioramas.
This family-run bar and restaurant also runs the campsite next door. But the real draw of the Beach Bar is its location, in west Sligo, an area steeped in history with castles, holy wells and megalithic monuments zooming past on the journey there.