TUCKED away in the lee of the idyllic landmark of Carnmore Rock, from where you can see six counties in one sweep, and adjacent to Corranny Lough, Mohan’s Pub, Corranny refuses to go the way of most rural pubs.
Now 50 years on the go, it began life under Liam Mohan Senior as Maguire’s Pub which was so small that, according to Liam’s son, also Liam, the whole counter had to move to let the person out.
And, it seems he isn’t exaggerating.
For, enclosed in a framed memorabilia, with sepia photos of the old pub, is a two-part letter, the first part a query from one visitor in Maguire’s time who wondered if it was the smallest pub in Ireland.
In the second part, the writer reveals he has had a response from two Fivemiletown men to say that the old pub was so small that, ‘three’s a crowd’.
Sadly, when the writer went back, Liam Mohan, Senior, now 82, had already modernised and enlarged the pub to what is there today.
His son, Liam (43) operates it seven days a week (‘I hate closing it even for one night’) and, at weekends, he is helped by his sister, Angela.
When we called with him last week, a Fivemiletown firm was revamping his beer garden which, given the weather, was a cute move.
So, how did he get involved?
“There were eight of us, all of whom served behind the bar when we were young. I left school as quickly as I could at the age of 16 and I worked for five years in Greenfield Foods in Monaghan as well as in the pub.
“It was leased out at that stage but when Paddy Connolly moved on, I moved into his slot.”
So began a full-time career that saw many changes, some of them that took getting adjusted to.
“We had been doing quite well over the years till the downturn. Funnily enough, the regulars took the smoking ban fairly easily because a lot of them drank in Clones at the weekends and they had got accustomed to it (the South introduced the ban first).”
But, for good measure, Liam built a dedicated smoking area that the smokers call, the Butt Hut and, for the arguably, more urgent need for road safety, he started a ‘home delivery’ service for motorised regulars.
“I have a sign in the pub, ‘If you have to have a few drinks, don’t be driving’, and I drive them home myself, no one else. I don’t like the young boys and this drink driving. I can’t have it. Sadly, there have been a few tragedies in my time, but none of them was leaving my pub.”
Despite not having music – the pub does have a telly – Mohan’s attracts a young crowd as well as the older regulars, although many of the ‘characters’ are now gone.
“We still have a few characters, but the craic isn’t the same although, in saying that, I firmly believe there will always be a future for the rural pub. For instance, the young ones use it as a meeting place, and they seem quite happy here.”
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