Fire has destroyed the highest pub in Ireland, The Top of Coom, which is perched over the 1,000ft mark on the Kerry-Cork border.
Patrons were safely evacuated from the landmark pub when the fire broke out suddenly at about 9pm on Monday.
The owners, Tim and Eileen Creedon, and their three young boys, who lived in an adjacent building, escaped serious injury.
However, Mr Creedon was brought to hospital by a neighbour to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Fire services from Killarney and Kenmare were called to the scene. Officers said the flames were “through the roof” by the time they arrived on the scene at about 9.30pm.
The pub was razed to the ground.
The Creedon family had developed it as a landmark stop in recent years.
They also performed a lot of charity work, organising an event last summer between it and the highest pub in England.
An extension had been completed and the pub was a popular location for watching All-Ireland clashes, particularly between Cork and Kerry.
Overhung by a Kerry flag — it was just inside the county boundary — it proclaimed itself the highest pub in Ireland after friendly rivalry with Johnny Fox’s pub in south Dublin earlier this century.
Cllr Danny Healy-Rae, who comes from nearby Kilgarvan, arrived at the scene to assist the Creedon family.
He described it as “the pub where Cork and Kerry met” and a meeting place for the people from both sides of the hill — Coolea on the Cork side and Kilgarvan in Kerry.
“Everyone is feeling desperately sorry for the family,” he said.
“They had to act fast to get everyone, customers and family, out safely after smoke engulfed the bar rooms suddenly.”
Although personal belongings had been destroyed, nobody was seriously injured, he said.
“They are a popular family and, hopefully, everyone will rally to support them.
“Hopefully, the Top of the Coom will be back in business soon again.”
Meanwhile, a technical examination continued yesterday to determine the cause of the fire.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved