A Dundalk family are moving lock, stock and barrel to a Kilcurry pub, which they reopened as a popular local last weekend.
The Sheehy family launched ‘J.J Sheehy’s Public House’ along the border at Annie’s Kilcurry, which closed during the pandemic after the original owner had passed away.
“A lot of people were wondering when we were going to open, but we did have to do some works to the property, so it took time. But we’re delighted with it,” said Anthony Sheehy, who is running the business with his wife Katie and children Joshua and Jade, who also loaned their initials for the pub’s new name.
"We are also going to live here, so it’s an unusual one. It is substantial living space,” said Anthony. “We are living in the town at the minute, but I am originally from Kilcurry, so it feels like going back to my roots!’
"The way I see it, we essentially bought a house and got a pub free. But when we looked at it, we just thought it would be great to open the pub again. It seemed like a good idea at the time anyhow!”
Recent surveys of pub ownership across the country revealed large numbers have closed over the last few years, with the pandemic bringing about serious challenges for the industry.
But Anthony added that his family were thrilled to buck the trend, and reopen a pub that had been a popular local for many in the cross border community.
The couple already have a number of businesses in operation, including the Irish Whiskey Auctions firm, which has already seen some bottles sell for over €13,000.
"A lot of houses would have had a bottle of whiskey in them which was never opened, it may have been one kept for special occasions, or for when the priest called! We had one last week, a 1989 bottle of Middleton, that you would have bought for 50 punts then, and it sold for €13,700.”
As a result, he adds, the have a lot of whiskeys behind the bar “that literally no other pub in Ireland will have, and we have a choice that very, very few pubs would have as well.”
They are planning to base the business at Kilcurry, and include the pub as a destination place.
"There is a lot of scope, so we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”