A real Irish character

Posted on: 4th July, 2017

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

This year Ma Murphy’s in Bantry was recognised at the Munster final of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2017. The family-run pub claimed the coveted ‘Munster Pub of the Year’ award and it’s not difficult to see why.

A family-run pub since 1840, Ma Murphy’s in Bantry is a landmark in the town and a unique part of the community. A veritable step back in time, this institution still serves groceries and has kept the traditional Snug. With ancient memorabilia adorning the walls, including an old grandfather clock (over 100-years-old), old Tilly lamps sat in corners, and cobbled stones out the back where the old forge has been put to new use, this pub oozes character and charm.

One of the newest generation of Leonard’s to run the pub, Mary Leonard, remembers singsongs and story-telling being a part of her childhood at Ma Murphy’s. Her father, Billy Leonard, whose family originally hails from Cape Clear, came back from Wales to run the pub over 30 years ago when Mrs Daly, the original Ma Murphy’s daughter passed away. While Mary and her brother Sean run the pub today, Billy is still in the background and to the delight of regular customers still gets behind the bar now and then.

“We’re thrilled with the award,” says Mary “and would like to sincerely thank all our customers for their continued support.”

Back in the day, Ma Murphy’s was always a great meeting place after Sunday Mass. Even today, you will still meet 90-year-old farmers mixing with younger generations and enjoying the chat. It’s not unusual to see a grandfather, his son and his grandson sitting up at the bar having a pint together.

In Ma’s day, a big feed of mackerel was cooked and served on Fair Day to the farmers who dropped by to have their horses shod. She also cooked up Pig’s Crubeens to the lads who came in before the dances. On busy nights, music sessions in the pub would spill over in to the kitchen with customers dancing on tables late in to the night.

In the old days, Blacksmith Tom H. Harrington ran his forge at the back of Ma Murphy’s. Farmers from as far as Adrigole and Crookhaven would leave their horses with Tom to be shod while they went for a pint and a drop in the bar. They would also buy their groceries and enjoy a good chat. Mary can still remember the noise from the hammer and the anvil in the forge and the smell of the fire.

Music and craic are still traditions at this charming old-school pub, which has withstood the test of time.

The old forge has been renovated to accommodate musicians and performers and there are regular live music sessions at Ma Murphy’s every Tuesday and Thursday night and at weekends.

Even today it’s not difficult to imagine ponies and sheep parked out the back while farmers enjoy their few pints on Fair Day or women matchmaking in the Snug at the front of the bar.

With a large number of tourists saying that their decision to visit Ireland is influenced by the Irish pub, it’s more important than ever to promote and support the Irish Pub concept – a concept of which Ma Murphy’s in Bantry is the perfect example, combining excellent service and experience with culture and tradition.

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
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