independent

Saturday 20 September 2014

'Balrothery is not a suburb of Balbriggan – we were here first'

CLOSE-KNIT AND SPORTS-MAD, BALROTHERY IS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE

Brendan McCormack

Published 18/09/2012 | 16:48

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Having grown up in Balrothery, Balrothery Inn publican Brendan McCormack is more than happy to raise his family in the village.

NOT TOO many people can claim to run a business that has been at the heart of its community for almost 400 years but that is exactly what Brendan McCormack of the Balrothery Inn does every day.

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A Balrothery man born and bred, he operates the unofficial community centre in Balrothery which was one of the first licenced premises in the country in 1656. His own family's history in the pub business is almost as long and Brendan is a seventh generation publican who runs the Balrothery Inn with two of his brothers and a sister. 'I was born and bred in Balrothery. My dad bought the Balrothery Inn six weeks before I was born so I suppose you could say I was born into the business. 'Balrothery was a brilliant place to grow up. It is a very close knit community and particularly when I was a kid, when it was a lot smaller, everyone knew everyone else. 'I still have the same friends I had 40 years ago. We walked into the national school together and we are still friends today.' It is a busier village these days and those that remember when there were less cars on the road around Balrothery can be singled out, according to Brendan. 'You can always tell when someone is a Balrothery native because they walk up the middle of the road.' If one thing defines Balrothery, it has to be sport. Brendan said: 'There is an amazing amount of sports clubs in the area from the North County Cricket Club to the rugby club, the golf club, tennis, soccer and the GAA Club – it is a sports mad village and we have had several internationals across the sports represent us.' Unusually, maybe uniquely in the country, it is cricket that is the number one sport in this village and if a Premier League soccer match happens to clash with an Irish cricket match, then the remote control at the Balrothery Inn will inevitably be seized and protected by cricket fans. Brendan is now raising his own children in Balrothery and he would not have it any other way. 'It's a wonderful place to bring up children. I have two, aged eight and five and we walk around the village all the time and go up to the castle and football field and we go to Ardgillan a good bit.' Coastal walks in Skerries and Balbriggan are also regular haunts for the family and there is all the attractions of a large town on Balrothery's doorstep in Balbriggan – but don't call Balrothery a suburb of its larger neighbour. 'Everyone will tell you here that Balrothery is not a suburb of Balbriggan but Balbriggan is a suburb of Balrothery – Balrothery was here first,' Brendan said. Despite its ever expanding neighbour getting closer and closer to the village, Balrothery has managed to keep its separate identity, according to the local publican who has no plans to go anywhere else and is adding a few more decades to his family history in the pub business and the even longer history of the Balrothery Inn.

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