McKee's

Northern Ireland - Dungannon

A historic pub interior of regional importance

Listed Status: Not listed

90 Scotch Street
Dungannon
BT70 1BJ

Tel: (028) 8772 3779

View on: Whatpub

A single-room bar that shows clearly how thousands of many small Irish pubs once looked and worked. A change in design half way along the bar counter betrays the fact that the room was originally split by a partition / screen with the front part serving as a grocers while the rest functioned as a bar. This useful type of institution survives at a few places in the Republic but in the north they were abolished in 1923 on the puritanical grounds that they led shoppers into disreputable ways! The counter and bar-back are Victorian or Edwardian (with some later embellishments such as the ribbed hardboard). The seating was revamped in the 1960s but the rear compartment is the reworking of an old snug. The tiny hatch from the servery to the corridor was for customers drinking in the now little-used rear room - plus anybody not wishing to advertise their presence in the pub.

A single-room bar that shows so clearly how thousands of many small Irish pubs would have looked and worked. You will easily see a change in design half way along the bar counter: Originally the room was split in two by a partition / screen as the front part of the premises would have served as a grocers while the rear part functioned as a bar. This useful type of institution survives at a few places in the Republic of Ireland but in the north they were abolished in 1923 on the puritanical grounds that they were leading shoppers into disreputable ways! The rear ‘bar’ section present counter height is the original, but the left hand grocers bar would have been lower and then raised when combined bars became illegal in Northern Ireland.

The counter itself and the bar-back are Victorian or Edwardian (with a few 1950s embellishment such as ribbed hardboard on and around the bar back fitting and the Formica top on the counter). The seating was revamped in the 1960s but the rear compartment is the reworking of an old snug. On the wall are framed posters of various bottled Guinness – some relate to the Guinness bottled on these premises – another is an old one from a bar in Ennistymon, Co. Clare – on it is a number – the last 6 digits is actually the date of bottling. Guinness would arrive in pubs in Ireland in 18 gallon casks originally wood until 1963, then aluminium until 1970 – it was tapped and spiled and as it arrived fresh the bottles were filled and then allowed 10-to 14 days to settle and mature in the bottle.

Note the tiny hatch from the servery to the corridor behind: this would have also been used by customers drinking in the now little-used rear room and those not wishing to advertise their presence at the pub. Note the three window bell box on the rear wall –there were two more public rooms upstairs, now private quarters. Outside gents (modern), now covered over on the rear right.

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