THEY come from far and wide to a dark, ghoulish, bloodstained corner of south Tipperary at this time of year, to a pub where the customer is as likely to be greeted by a skeleton as a waitress, and where the reputation goes beyond mere food and drink.
Lonergan’s bar in Fethard is now renowned as a place that comes into its own at Hallowe’en, a bar that has taken the theme and run with it on a yearly basis, to the delight and wonderment of locals and visitors alike.
From vampire bats to mummies, a skeletal bride and groom to rodents and spiders, ‘blood’ on the toilet walls to skulls oozing steam and smoke, from a ‘graveyard’ to a ‘barman’ who would not look out of place in Jack Nicholson’s The Shining — it’s all here.
Owners Roseanne and John Carroll have collected horrific bits and bobs from all over the world, while on their travels (including a few funny looks in an airport as the X-ray machines showed up some dismembered limbs) and courtesy of the internet, and for much of the year the material is stored upstairs.
But early in October it gets taken out, dusted down and spread throughout the popular bar, lounge and restaurant in The Square of the picturesque town.
It all started with Roseanne about nine years ago, when she ran Hallowe’en parties for her daughter Andrea, and began collecting decorations and props.
The collection has been gradually augmented over the years — a rat’s skeleton here, a headstone there — and found its natural home when the couple took over the pub three years ago from Paddy and Anne Lonergan.
Now, for a few weeks in October, the premises becomes arguably the spookiest in Ireland. “It creates a great buzz around the place,” says Roseanne. “People love coming in to see it and just to sit and look around at everything. It’s something different for them to look at when they come out for a drink.”
The attention to detail and creativity have been hailed by all who have ventured inside.
“Hallowe’en is one of the best nights of the year here,” says husband John Carroll. “Last year we had over 100 people on the night, all dressed up. You’d actually look out of place on Hallowe’en if you weren’t in fancy dress.”
The pub has featured on Nationwide and TV3 news and its fame has brought sightseers from all over the country.
“They love it,” adds Roseanne.
Early in November, it will all have to come down, and the thoughts of the people in Lonergan’s will turn to Christmas, and that snow-machine in the corner.
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