Fureys Pub - Moyvalley

My mother is from Ballymote Co. Sligo and every year, thoughout the 60's and 70's, my dad used to take the eight of us (my mum, three brothers, two sisters, himself and meself) on a trek across Ireland to visit my granny and auntie. The main roads then were twisty, bumpy and more than often could just fit one car going in either direction. At least the modern roads are a little bit wider. It was a mighty trek for six children sitting on top of one another especially when games like "I spy with my little eye…" were limited to the letter "C" for car, cow or more than likely cloud and "F" was either a field or fogged up window (which in itself limited the on board entertainment).

The only consistent and guaranteed piece of excitement was keeping an eye out through those foggy windows for that big sign as we flashed past at 30 - 40 mph. "There it goes - Furey's Pub!!".

Picture - Brian Furey of Galway

Way back then my bothers, sisters and myself were convinced that we were one of the very few Fureys on the planet and what a thrill we got whenever we saw our name up there in faded blue and white. We were not alone.

Then again the excitement would fade heading westward. We had only left home an hour ago with three or four hours travelling before we crested that final hill to catch our first glimpse of our granny standing in the doorway of her thatched cottage. This image used to bother us slightly as we always assumed that (a) she would either spend all day everyday standing at the door or (b) somehow magically "knew" when we were approaching. We used to believe in the mystery of (b) until we found out many years later that granny would ring mum from Ballymote town and would be told the time to expect us. Well she had no phone, the toilet was a bucket in a shed, dinner was cooked on an open fire, there was no telly or radio and in the early years the 8 of us used to sleep in one room - so what were supposed to think!

The trip home could sometimes present a problem when looking out for Furey's Pub. Most times it was dark and the younger ones were asleep on your shoulder, lap or neck. We tried to ignore the old folks music playing on the BBC as it faded in and out, whistling and whining away on it's longwave frequencies. But when our pub was spotted and cheered to, we knew we were nearly home.

Nowadays the pub has been bypassed slightly due to the new main road but is even more popular and is famous for the excellent quality and quantity of food being served. An old fashioned bar, where the road, railway & canal meet in the middle of nowhere, between Enfield & Moyvalley. It is one of those eating and drinking places dotted around the country that most travellers know about, visit and tell their friends. My wife and I went to a wedding in Sligo last October and we dropped in both on the way there and on the way back. It has the original atmosphere of a country pub and is a lot bigger on the inside then what first appears on the outside.

It's still a little bit unsettling when you see how small, windy and bumpy the old Dublin to Sligo/Galway road is. I could only imagine what my father had to go through travelling all that time on that road with 6 bored pre mobile electronic era "are we nearly there yet?" children.

I still feel the same and still get a kick when I see the sign as I flash past at a little bit more than 30 - 40 miles per hour. My wife doesn't - she is bored with my ramblings but I look forward to sharing this story with a new audience, my four little boys.

Paul Furey

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