Blue Anchor reopens with real country flavour
THERE really was only one venue to visit on Friday night and that was the official reopening of the Blue Anchor in Bellurgan Point.
This classic venue closed its doors on the May Bank Holiday and after extensive renovations and refurbishment, it opened its doors as a brand new venue based on the peninsula dedicated to live music all weekend long with a strong Irish country music feel on Friday nights, more live contemporary music on Saturday nights and a Sunday Live Session between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to look forward to.
The debut night was left in the hands of the Long Riders and the place was completely buzzing by the time I arrived.
I was lucky enough to meet up with proprietor Seamus Keenan who told me they had completely renovated the place because they wanted to provide a venue for the people of the area and its environs where they could come along, enjoy live music without the hassle of getting in and out of town and bring some of the best of the live bands currently playing to an appreciative audience.
He told me it was a family decision and he Paul, Sinead, Jennifer, Elaine, Maria and Anthony were all in agreement that it was a case of out with the old and in with the new to bring a revitalised venue to everyone in the area and beyond.
I then decided to have a look round to see who was there and the first group I had the pleasure of talking to were Lily Dowdall from Hackballscross, Rosaleen O'Connor from Bellurgan (who told me she was responsible for getting the girls there), Brigie Hearty and Mary Sloane both from Crossmaglen who told me they all thought the place was absolutely beautiful and a real credit to Seamus and his family.
Next I headed over for a chat with my old friend Maurice Roddy from Bellurgan Point who was there with his lovely daughter Sevlene and Tom Roddy also from Bellurgan Point and Maurice assured me it is definitely a great place to have as his local!
Making my way over to an adjacent table I then got talking to Eimhear Breen from Benagh who was with Caroline Reape from Jenkinstown, Adele and Orla Duffy both from Ravensdale who told me they all though the place looked fantastic and were going to have an epic night.
They were there with Lorraine McKevitt from Ravensdale and Carol, Louise and Triona (mum) Duffy all from Ravensdale, Teresa Reape from Jenkinstown who all wanted to wish Seamus all the best with the new Blue Anchor and told me it was definitely going to be a rockin' night.
They were there with Michael Reape from Jenkinstown, Anthony and Richard Duffy also from Ravensdale, Malachy Duffy from Proleek, Andrew Donnelly from Feede, John Prendergast from Blackrock and Johnny Keenan from Next Door who told me he had gotten the very first pint of Guinness pulled on the night and it was 'beautiful' and was looking forward to getting the last one on the night too.
Also in their company were Matthew Myles from Muirhevnamor, Eddie and Declan McKevitt from Ravensdale who told me it is a good spot and they all knew it was going to be a great night.
Meanwhile up near the bar I then got talking to Greg Gormley and John Gregory both from The Castle Bar who said they thought the place was absolutely beautiful and wanted to wish the Keenan family all the best in the future. After this I got a word with Matt Finnegan from Mountpleasant who agreed the place looked great and wanted to wish Seamus and family all the best with their new venture.
Next I got talking to a lovely couple in bus driver Francis and Sara Flynn from Dromintee who told me that it was some job, it was totally different and was like a four star hotel and wanted to wish Seamus all the best.
Seated at an adjacent table I then got talking to John Daly from Kilkerley and Sarah O'Mahony from Lordship who said they thought the place was lovely and a big improvement.
Not too long later I met up with Johnny and Olive Hickey from Muirhevnamor who were with the Power's from Newry and they included Gary and Ciara, Matt and Laura and Ciaran as well as Caroline McGivern, Terry and Shirley Gallagher from Newry, Sharon Agnew from Lennonstown Manor and Johnny said he wanted to tell his brother-in-law that they had done a helluva job and wanted to wish all the best to Seamus and family for the insight to produce such a fantastic venue and pub.
Making my way over to another table I then got a word with Cyril and Breda Roddy from Bellurgan Point who were having a really great night with Angeline and Bradley Lambe from Ravensdale and Annmarie and Chris Roddy also from Bellurgan Point who were all up for making the best of the night in the brand new venue and were very appreciative of the great work in transforming it.
Not too long later I got a word with Trevor Mackin from Ashling Park and Michael McAleer from Castleross who were just in the door and told me they just knew it was going to be a fantastic night.
Finally, before I departed I caught up with the lovely Elaine Keenan from Bellurgan Point who informed me there had been a lot of work put in and so far everyone was really enjoying the brand new Blue Anchor.