Thursday 15 November 2018

Meet the odd couple in Patsy's 'Bog Hotel'

Owner of unique watering hole denies accusations of illicit sales

Paddy Clancy

Patsy Brogan is over 70, owns a remote shed nicknamed the "Bog Hotel" and denies critics' claims that he is breaking the law.

Gorgeous Polish girl Daria Weiske, 28, helps him part-time as cleaner and 'barmaid' and occasional cook and laughs off his half-hearted claim that she's his girlfriend. "That's not true," she said.

Daria, who has a day job in a cafe in Donegal town, earns extra income helping Patsy two or three times a week in his fully-equipped "Bog Hotel" in the Bluestack Mountains near Frosses, Co Donegal. She says she got the job when she answered an advert.

The "Bog Hotel" was a well-kept secret until it was visited by gardai piecing together the final hours of tragic Thomas Sheridan who died two weeks ago. The 20-year-old was pronounced dead in Letterkenny General Hospital last Sunday week after efforts to resuscitate him failed when he was driven in a collapsed state to his family home in Donegal town.

Only hours earlier he was in the "Bog Hotel" with two other men after a night of partying in nearby Mountcharles.

Gardai said a post-mortem examination was "inconclusive". Now they await the results of toxicology tests to establish whether drugs contributed to Thomas's death.

Detectives quizzed Mr Brogan about the young man's Sunday morning visit to the "Bog Hotel". They are satisfied it wasn't directly linked to his death.

But the tragedy catapulted the "Bog Hotel" into the limelight and prompted calls for its closure.

Local independent county councillor Thomas Pringle claimed alcohol has been served to underage teenagers there. He has also expressed concern for the safety of young people making their way home in darkness across the mountains.

But Mr Brogan denied that young people ever drank there. He also denied that people were charged for drink and he challenged Mr Pringle to name names.

Daria backed him up: "I have served drink there and have not asked anybody to pay," she said.

The bar is located in a shed adjoining Mr Brogan's cottage. He designed the bar himself but insisted it was only for his own use and for the entertainment of friends.

He also said gardai had visited a number of times and were satisfied he did not run the place as a pub. He said nobody was charged for drink although some people, unasked, would occasionally leave money.

"The place has been effectively shut down for the past nine months," he said. "The last time there was a crowd here was Good Friday last year. People came and then made mobile phone calls to their friends and before we knew it there were 25 people here."

There is actually no name over the shed. It gained its "Bog Hotel" nickname because of the drinks parties there and its isolated location at the end of a narrow cul-de-sac right on the edge of bogland.

There is a Bavaria beer sign out the front and a hi-fi system inside with lots of CDs neatly stacked nearby. There's a little stage as well and a neat pine space for dancing.

High stools line a bar that has bottles of beer on the shelves and a couple of upside-down spirits bottles with optics just as can be seen in licensed premises. There's also a Smithwicks pump and another unlabelled beer pump. The pipes leading to them were empty last week.

Cllr Pringle said he had discussions with council officials about the place.

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