Cosy bar where murder suspect enjoyed a curry

Aoife Finneran

A 31-year-old man had been calmly drinking a pint in the cosy surrounds of the Central Bar in the seaside town of Kilkee on Tuesday when he was surrounded by detectives and arrested on suspicion of the murder of 25-year-old Sarah Hines, her son Reece, who was aged three, daughter Amy (5 months) and friend Alicia Brough (20).

The prime suspect fled Newcastle West some time on Monday afternoon, leaving behind him a scene of unspeakable devastation.

The journey from there to Kilkee normally takes about one hour, thanks to the ferry crossing from Tarbert to Killimer.


Under normal circumstances, a person leaving the Hazelgrove estate in Newcastle West would have had an uncomplicated journey, simply turning left on the main road and heading for Foynes and then on to Tarbert.

However, with no car, it is believed that the suspect chose a much longer route.

Fleeing from the house at the Gortboy side of town, he may have boarded a bus in Newcastle West and headed for Ennis, before then hitching a lift along the road lining the peninsula.

In total, the arduous journey measured more than 130km.

Despite his actions, the man was happy to book into a plush room in the Stella Maris hotel in the centre of Kilkee town. A female member of staff checked him in to the hotel, but he declined to sign the guest book at the front desk.

As the only guest that night, he was given a room next door to the staff member who had checked him in that evening.

On Tuesday morning, with the bodies of four people still lying undiscovered in Newcastle West, the man embarked on a drinking spree.


He made his way just 100 yards down the street to the popular Myles Creek restaurant and bar on O'Curry Street, where he tucked into a dinner of chicken curry, warmed by a roaring fire.

Some time later, he crossed the street and entered the Central Bar, taking a stool at the corner of the polished counter.

With three televisions broadcasting various sporting events, and sporting and historical memorabilia lining the walls, it would have been a comfortable spot for any man looking to while away the afternoon hours.

The bar's regular clientele greeted him warmly.

News of the dramatic arrest triggered shockwaves around the coastal town, where most people had been unaware of the town's link to the country's latest tragedy.

Around midday on Tuesday, the man decided to confess his actions and so he made his way to a pay phone on the street.

He contacted a friend back in Co Limerick, with whom he often socialised, and confessed his actions.

However, he then returned to the pub and was still drinking when confronted by gardai.

Curiously, this is not the first time the town's O'Curry Street watering holes have come to prominence.

Just over two years ago, Kilkee's Greyhound Bar became the focus of attention in the infamous "Lying Eyes" court case.


During the dramatic trial of Clare woman Sharon Collins, it emerged that she had made arrangements with a so-called hitman who was hired to poison the two sons of her wealthy partner PJ Howard.

The ambitious blonde had contacted the man over the internet and asked him to kill both her partner and his adult sons so that she could claim a substantial inheritance, and had suggested that Mr Howard's two sons could be targeted during weekends socialising at the usual haunt, the Greyhound pub.

The bar is directly across the street from the Central Bar.

While news of the tragic events in Newcastle West continued to hit the headlines, locals in Kilkee were appalled to discover that the main suspect had been sleeping and drinking in their midst.

"It's very quiet here in the winter, but you'd get the odd few here and there so you'd never take much notice", admitted one local.

"It's hard to credit that a man could do such a thing and then get all the way out here", said another.