I am an inveterate collector. Books, ephemera, bottles, memorabilia, photos, advertising material; pretty much anything old. So imagine my surprise and joy at walking into a place where every square inch of wall and roof is covered with such. Cabinets and shelves displaying every conceivable item. No it’s not the Dublin Museum but it could be. It’s Fitzpatrick’s Pub and Restaurant on the Cooley Peninsula, between Dundalk and Carlingford in County Louth.
You know you are in for something different even before you enter the front door.
This deservedly popular place was packed with diners this cold Sunday February evening but I almost forgot about food as I waited for a table. The roof is covered with objects of every description hanging in chaotic order. There is kitchenalia, enamel ware, copper ware, basket ware, road signs pointing to all parts of Ireland, ropes and saddlery, and many items I didn’t even recognise.
In one room (and there are many in the sprawling restaurant) was a table set for tea – defying gravity as it hung upside down adding a quirky element.
The walls were covered with shelves, hanging objects and cabinets containing bottles, jars, whiskey crocks, plates, books, old tools, signs, and more signs, advertising such things as tobacco, cakes or chocolates.
There were pub mirrors aplenty. For well known brands such as Jamieson’s and Powers but also more local varieties such as DWD, Dunville, Mitchell’s and Corbett’s (both of Belfast), Persse’s from Galway, Hand-in-Hand from Newry, Prerston Bros (Drogheda) and Smiths of Dundalk. Many are works of art.
There were a lot of individual display cabinets devoted to one particular theme. Tyrconnell Whiskey or OXO or whiskey samples from all over Ireland, and one large one full of Guinness ware.
There was too much to see. Many smaller items were hard to inspect. One cabinet I noticed had items such as Identity cards and ration books.
An incredibly eclectic collection and what a fantastic way to display what I am guessing is a lifetime passion. As I said I nearly forgot about the food but hey this is not a restaurant review. It consistently wins enough accolades for its food from others,
As I wasn’t the only one taking photos I did not feel I was disturbing the diners too much. I just had to capture some memories. But it was night and I wanted to see it in daylight and meet the owners and get more of their story because I am sure it is a fascinating one. But it when I returned the next day there was no activity. Monday is the one day of the week it closes. It will have to wait for my next visit to Carlingford.
I am inspired. My own collection focuses around the Western Australian Goldfields and I would just love to do something like this with it, but I’m not so sure about the running a restaurant thing.
Anyway I urge you to pay the place a visit, even if you are not hungry. The perfect place to sample the local Cooley whiskey. It used to be called Greenore but I think Fitzpatricks serve Kilbeggan also made by them.