There has been a bar trading under the Morahan name in Ballinagare since at least 1641. The Morahan family are one of the oldest in Ballinagare with wedding records dating back to 1792 and gravestones back to the 1750s. There are licences on the wall of the bar dated 1841. Perhaps not the oldest pub in the country, but certainly one of the oldest family run businesses.
The Morahans are connected to the Flanagan family of nearby Tulsk. Thomas Flanagan was a leading Fenian of the time and after a bounty was put on his head he escaped away to the French Foreign Legion. He was awarded a Certificate of Honour by the French government and was also a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
The Morahan family operated a travelling shop throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Bartering meal, flour, sugar and tea with farmers for locally produced eggs. Up until recently Ballinagare was considered quite a remote place, despite it being on the main Dublin to Westport Rd. Freight and passengers relied purely on horses well into the twentieth century. Barrels of Porter and other items had to picked up by horse and cart from Carrick on Shannon.
The Black and Tans
During the War of Independence in the twenties, the Black and Tans looted and burned much of the village. They entered Morahan’s and made off with anything they could carry. When they were unable to rob the cash register, they drew their weapons and shot it open. This group of marauding Tans got so drunk in the end that they were unable to load two barrels of Guinness they had looted onto the Crossley Tender.
Commerce and Conversation
Throughout the twentieth century and up until the present day Morahan’s Bar and shop remained a centre of commerce and conversation. The bulk-packed wholesale goods such as large tea chests, 50 pound bags of sugar and the enormous sacks of flour may have been replaced by modern packaged goods, yet the custom of buying supplies and dallying for the conversation remains.
Despite a backdrop of hectic and incessant change, Morahan’s Bar retains the character and charm of what is for many Irish towns a bygone era.
It is a true bastion of all that was good in old Ireland, where a genuine, effortless Irish hospitality has survived from generation to generation.