Some people get a flurry of wanderlust from looking at pictures of places like Machu Picchu.
Or from hearing stories about some hidden Hawaiian island from a friend that did ‘the whole travelling thing’.
I get a big aul whack of wanderlust when I get wind of quirky old Irish pubs that I’ve never heard of.
Places like McCarthy’s Pub in Fethard, Tipperary, make me very happy altogether.
A Pub, Restaurant, and Undertakers rolled into one
Weary travellers in search of a sup will find McCarthy’s pub in the medieval town of Fethard in Tipperary.
As you approach the pub, the sign hanging outside will likely nab your eye.
It reads ‘Pub, Restaurant, Undertaker’.
It all started in the 1850s
The business was established by Richard McCarthy in the 1850s.
Back then, it offered the services of a spirit merchant, restaurant, hotel, undertaker, draper, grocer, baker, hackney service, glass, delph and china shop.
They were kept busy by the sounds of it.
The present proprietor, Vincent Murphy (aka Jasper), has kept the tradition very much alive.
McCarthy’s boasts a pub, restaurant and undertaker business which Murphy runs with his family.
“We wine you, dine you and bury you”, boasts this lovely unique pub.
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The interior of the pub remains unchanged since Richard McCarthy opened for business in the 1850’s.
You’ll find a nice range of memories from years past scattered throughout the pub, like the undertaker’s ledger (above) from 1945.
What’s all this about famous clientele and ghosts?
According to legend, a sign was given before the deaths of the last generation of McCarthy’s.
This usually came in the form of a picture falling from the wall, but 3 loud knocks on the front door were heard by people at both sides of the door before one death.
Ghosts have also been spotted late at night and in the afternoon.
Over the years, the pub has welcomed the likes of Michael Collins, Mick Doyle, John Magnier, Vincent O’Brien, Robert Sangster, Alex Ferguson, Lord Lloyd Webber, Sir David Frost, Alan Parker, Rod Taylor, Angela Rippon, Peter Curling and many more.
And Graham Norton, as you can see in the photo above.
I’m a fan of an old-school pub and while Ireland is home to plenty of them, it’s places like McCarthy’s that give me that giddy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I associate with craic, mischief, and adventure.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.