Crowley’s pub is on the Main St in Corofin. Crowleys once leased the premises and the shop front still has their name. Gerry Quinn was another leasee and his wall sign survives too.
I quite like the street ad for St Bruno flake. It is really quaint and harks back to the days before no-smoking pubs. St Bruno is probably the most famous piped tobacco in the world – U.K. manufacture, Virginian leaf, 11th century Cologne saint.
The building is a reasonable size boasting a six-bay window first floor. In the past, the premises was not just an alehouse but offered lodgings as well. Eminent local historian Michael Mc Mahon writes that Crowley’s was formerly known as The Queen’s Head. It was probably so named during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714) in the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Michael actually maintains that the building was home to a pub long before it got the The Queen’s Head name.
Dick Cronin is an architectural conservationist and a habitué of the pub. Dick reckons that Crowley’s is the oldest pub in the province of Munster. He also tells me that it was an important comfort stop in the past for the staff and visitors to the village courthouse. The court house was located right across the street from the pub. It successively functioned as the Market House by which name it is known today. (The two-street village of Corofin was a market and post “town” in the 19th century). The Market House now houses apartments.
The pub is divided into two rooms. The back room opens for music evenings and other events. The front room features the bar, a Liscannor stone floor and a fire which blazes in the winter.
Mick Nestor presides over a hugely enjoyable traditional music session every Friday evening.
The “Nestor orchestra” averages about 10 to 15 musicians and songsters.Mick is a kind, gentle man and a truly excellent flute player. He is from the parish of Dysert and he has a car mechanic’s yard in Killinaboy. His yard must be the only one in Ireland located in a sacred space – a disused church!
Liam Jones on guitar is also a tower of song. Then there is Lu Edmonds who is vocalist/instrumentalist with The Mekons, a 1970s punk band who have evolved heavily in terms of musical style over the last 40 years. Lu is also guitarist with John Lydon’s band Public Image Limited. When he is not touring, the Corofin-based Lu can be found in the thick of Crowley’s Friday night session. He plays Greek bouzouki at the session. (It was septuagenarian Andy Irvine, a founder member of Planxty, who introduced the instrument to Irish traditional music). Lu himself first came to prominence in the late 1970s with the punk group The Damned.
Lu and Mick are from two quite different musical traditions but have struck up a fine chemistry on Friday nights – The Sacred and the Damned!
The pub is now leased by two of the good guys– Tom and Pete. They run a fine shop…. an atmospheric refuge rich in history. It opens in the evenings.