Mary McBride

Northern Ireland - Cushendun

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: B

2 Main Street
Cushendun
BT44 0PH

Tel: (028) 2176 1511

Lunchtime Meals: Yes

Evening Meals: Yes

View on: Whatpub

This pub is included for the original public area that amounts to just a single tiny bar, 5ft x 9ft 6ins, and, as such, it was one of the smallest pubs in all Ireland. It is barely altered but in recent years it has been joined by more rooms including a new bar at the rear and a room on the right converted from living quarters.

The porch has a modern tiled floor and there is a passageway that runs to the rear. On the left is a latch door that has a painted-out figure ‘1’ and leads into the tiny bar. It has no tables or chairs and just very simple fittings – a plain bar counter, simple shelving and a basic bench round two walls. The floor tiles and seating are relatively modern. As part of a St Patrick’s Day competition the total number of customers who could be crammed in was found to be 42!

This pub is included for the original public area that amounts to just a single tiny bar, 5ft x 9ft 6ins, and, as such, it was one of the smallest pubs in all Ireland. It is barely altered but in recent years it has been joined by more rooms including a new bar at the rear and a room on the right converted from living quarters.

The pub was first licensed in 1849 and owned by Baron Cushendun who, when he died in 1934, bequeathed the village to the Ulster Land Fund, who later passed it onto the National Trust.

Mary McBride took over in the 1950s and died in 1983 but the bar and Mary continued to be included in Northern Ireland Tourist Board publications well into the 1990's! She never drank herself and would not serve women in the bar. The Trust closed the pub in early 1995 and spent money on the exterior and then looked for tenants to run it and spend up to £100,000 on the interior and it reopened in 1997.

The porch has a modern tiled floor and there is a passageway that runs to the rear. On the left is a latch door that has a painted-out figure ‘1’ and leads into the tiny bar. It has no tables or chairs and just very simple fittings – a plain bar counter, simple shelving and a basic bench round two walls. The floor tiles and seating are relatively modern. As part of a St Patrick’s Day competition the total number of customers who could be crammed in was found to be 42!

On the front right the former parlour has a wood-block floor, an old cast-iron and wood-surround fireplace and is the venue for live music (or karaoke). At the rear left the new bar has a modern flagstone floor and beyond this is a conservatory-style room. Also an upstairs restaurant. The recent changes, although creating a pub of viable size, have taken away much of the overall sense of what a basic, one-room Irish pub was like. Something of that flavour can be recaptured at McKee's in Dungannon in Co. Tyrone. In winter the pub opens at 5pm Mon to Fri.

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