Just dy­ing for a pint...

Irish Daily Mail - - News -

QUES­TION Was there a pub in Ire­land that dou­bled as an un­der­tak­ers? What other mul­ti­pur­pose pubs are there?

ALL pubs were able to dou­ble as un­der­tak­ers un­til 1962. These days, the most usual form of mul­ti­pur­pose pubs is pro­vid­ing bed and break­fast ac­com­mo­da­tion in tourist ar­eas.

A clas­sic ex­am­ple of a pub that started off as a morgue is the Drop­ping Well at Mill­town in south Dublin.

Dur­ing the Great Famine be­tween 1845 and 1847, so many peo­ple died along the banks of the River Dod­der in the area. Dur­ing Black ’47, the build­ing that later be­came the Drop­ping Well pub opened as a morgue in July 1847.

The man who opened the pub, John Howe, be­came in­fected from all the dead bod­ies on the premises and died in 1850.

Up un­til 1962, it was legally pos­si­ble for pub­li­cans to dou­ble as un­der­tak­ers and many did in fact carry out this grue­some dou­ble mis­sion.

To­day, only a few pubs still have an un­der­tak­ing busi­ness. One of them is McCarthy’s pub in Fethard, Co. Tip­per­ary, which started in 1840 and which is now run by the fifth gen­er­a­tion of the McCarthy fam­ily. The present owner of the pub, Jasper McCarthy, says that tourists of­ten think that the signs in the pub – pub, restau­rant and un­der­tak­ers – are just a gim­mick, un­til he brings them out to the back of the pub to see the hearse and coffins.

McCarthy’s pub has had a lot of tele­vi­sion cov­er­age over the years, in such pro­grammes as At Your Ser­vice, on RTÉ, hosted by Fran­cis Bren­nan and in pro­grammes in such coun­tries as Aus­tralia and the US.

The pub also used to run a hack­ney ser­vice and it also dou­bled as a gro­cery shop; in the old days, pubs of­ten used to sell gro­ceries as well as al­co­holic drinks. That prac­tice started to die out in the 1930s and by the early 1960s, had al­most com­pletely dis­ap­peared.

Many pubs these days have diver­si­fied into the restau­rant busi­ness while oth­ers in tourist ar­eas around the coun­try have also diver­si­fied into pro­vid­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for tourists.

One ex­am­ple is An­nie May’s pub in Sk­ib­bereen, Co. Cork, which also has a restau­rant, as well as en suite rooms. The Smug­gler’s Inn in Water­ville, Co. Kerry, has a gourmet restau­rant and en suite rooms for guests, while the Foynes Inn at Foynes in Co. Lim­er­ick, a 200-year-old pub, also has a restau­rant and five en suite rooms.

The pub in the cen­tre of Lis­towel, Co. Kerry, owned by the late great au­thor, John B Keane, was the cen­tre of an even more un­usual trade. Above the pub lived his fam­ily, and the whole place was used by John B as the ideal spot for writ­ing his master­pieces. Jack Lani­gan, Gal­way. THE com­bi­na­tion of pub and fu­neral par­lour is com­mon here. A pub and an un­der­taker is a nat­u­ral com­bi­na­tion as the tra­di­tional Ir­ish wake cen­tres around the de­ceased and al­co­hol.

Hav­ing the two ser­vices un­der one own­er­ship made a lot of sense, es­pe­cially in Ir­ish vil­lages where it is hoped not to have reg­u­lar un­der­tak­ing work.

In my home town of Newry, there were three pub­lic houses/un­der­tak­ers within 50 yards: McGen­ni­tys, McCrinks and McLo­gans (which was also the gro­cery shop). As chil­dren, we would play among the beer bar­rels and coffins out the back.

The Coro­ners Act of 1846 de­creed a dead body had to be brought to the near­est pub­lic house for stor­age un­til fur­ther ar­range­ments were made. The beer cel­lars were cool and slowed de­com­po­si­tion, and it be­came com­mon for pub­li­cans to have mar­ble ta­bles in their cel­lars for au­top­sies. McCarthy’s pub in Tip­per­ary still ad­ver­tises: ‘Wine you, dine you, bury you.’

In Ire­land, it is not un­usual to com­bine the vint­ners trade with an­other trade. In Dublin, Mary’s Bar & Hard­ware in the city cen­tre has build­ing sup­plies mixed in with the beer and spirit bot­tles.

In Car­rick-on-Shan­non, Co. Leitrim, un­til re­cently, my wife used to try on footwear in the Main Street shoe shop while I sipped a draught Guin­ness at the bar be­side the shelves of shoe boxes.

In PJ’s Bar, Car­ling­ford, Co. Louth, you could put fuel in your car, buy gro­ceries and drink a pint on the same premises.

Pat Cur­tis, Newry. MCDON­NELL fu­neral direc­tors works from their pub in Bel­mul­let, Co. Mayo, where you can en­joy a fine pint while mak­ing your ar­range­ments.

Iain Hark­ness, East Loth­ian.

QUES­TION What is the most valu­able gui­tar?

THE high­est price ever raised at auc­tion for a gui­tar was $2.7mil­lion paid by an un­known bid­der for a Fen­der Stra­to­caster in Novem­ber 2005. Signed by a large num­ber of rock lu­mi­nar­ies, it was sold in aid of the Reach Out To Asia char­ity at the Ritz-Carl­ton Ho­tel, Doha, Qatar. It was part of the ef­fort to raise money for relief ef­forts af­ter the 2004 tsunami.

Sig­na­to­ries in­cluded Keith Richards, Mick Jag­ger and Ron­nie Wood of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clap­ton, Brian May of Queen, David Gil­mour of Pink Floyd, Jimmy Page of Led Zep­pelin, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, Pete Town­shend of The Who, Tony Iommi of Black Sab­bath, An­gus and Mal­colm Young of AC/DC, Sting, Ritchie Black­more of Deep Pur­ple, Bryan Adams, Liam Gal­lagher of Oa­sis and Paul McCart­ney.

Like clas­sic cars, vin­tage gui­tars have be­come highly sought af­ter for their col­lectabil­ity and po­ten­tial to rapidly ap­pre­ci­ate in value.

The most highly prized are linked to an iconic fig­ure or sem­i­nal per­for­mance.

In 2015, John Len­non’s 1962 Gib­son J-160E sold to an anony­mous bid­der for $2.41mil­lion. It was the gui­tar he played when record­ing The Bea­tles’ 1963 break­through al­bums Please Please Me and With The Bea­tles.

Len­non bought it at Rush­worth’s Mu­sic House in Liver­pool for £161 on Septem­ber 10, 1962.

An­other Len­non gui­tar, his Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins Nashville model, used on The Bea­tles’ 1966 sin­gle Pa­per­back Writer, sold for $530,000 to NFL owner Jim Ir­say in Novem­ber 2014.

Ir­say also paid $965,000 for Bob Dy­lan’s Fen­der Stra­to­caster, which he used at the 1965 New­port Folk Fes­ti­val, where he was fa­mously booed by an­gry ‘folkies’ who felt be­trayed by the new-fan­gled elec­tric tech­nol­ogy. There was also Blackie, Eric Clap­ton’s fa­mous gui­tar, which he’d cre­ated by dis­man­tling and re­assem­bling three Fen­der Stra­to­cast­ers to match to his ‘slow­hand’ style.

This was sold in 2004 for $959,000 to raise money for Clap­ton’s Cross­roads Re­hab Cen­tre. Max Hi­att, Sal­ford, Gtr Manch­ester.

IS THERE a ques­tion to which you have al­ways wanted to know the an­swer? Or do you know the an­swer to a ques­tion raised here? Send your ques­tions and an­swers to: Charles Legge, An­swers To Cor­re­spon­dents, Ir­ish Daily Mail, Em­bassy House, Her­bert Park Lane, Balls­bridge, Dublin 4. You can also fax them to 0044 1952 510906 or you can email them to charles.legge@dai­ly­mail.ie. A se­lec­tion will be pub­lished but we are not able to en­ter into in­di­vid­ual cor­re­spon­dence.

Wine, dine and re­cline: McCarthy’s in Fethard, Co. Tip­per­ary

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