Local pubs look to summer boost after lockdown heartbreak

Ballygar is a town steeped in history, sport, and craic agus ceol. It’s also a good spot for a few pints with some great local pubs dotted all along Main Street.

There are bars and eateries such as An Tobar, as well as the very attractive The Thatch Bar, and of course Martin’s Bar na dTaoisigh, complete with portraits of Ireland’s leaders down through the years.

Tom Kenny was behind the bar at Kenny’s when the Roscommon People visited the town recently. A font of local knowledge, the walls of Tom’s pub are adorned with all sorts of memorabilia.

At the other end of the street is Fallon’s, run by husband and wife team John and Noeleen. A number of customers were sitting outside enjoying the sun last week while a few more sat inside keeping a curious eye on whatever sports happened to be on TV.

Noeleen says business has slowly improved since the heartbreaking closures of Covid-19.

“Business is steady here; John (Fallon) has the same clientele most days and we’re lucky enough that we’re still here. He’s going into his 23rd year in business so fingers crossed it continues,” she said.

Fallon’s, like other pubs in the area, benefits greatly from the big social event of the year in Ballygar, The Ballygar Carnival.

The Carnival has been taking place in the east Galway town since 1945 but was badly hampered by Covid-19. It takes place across six whole days over the August Bank Holiday (3rd to 8th) and includes a funfair, live music, a fair day and market, and much more.

Like most local businesses, Fallon’s – with ten staff, including John and Noeleen – has experienced a number of challenges over the last two years, most recently due to the cost-of-living crisis. But Noeleen says the support of the local community has certainly helped.

“Our biggest challenge in business nowadays are the bills. Everything is gone so expensive now and it’s not even the bigger purchases, it’s the simple stuff (like groceries). We do bar food so we’ve definitely noticed a big change,” she said.

Like any local pub, there’s always plenty of banter at the bar and the day this writer visited was no exception. A fierce but friendly football rivalry with the next-door neighbours makes Fallon’s an interesting place to be on match-days.

“You’re in Galway now but just over the bridge at Mount Talbot is Roscommon so there would be a few Rossies around,” Noeleen says.

“Some of our breakfast crowd are from Four Roads and Curraghboy and there is always  great slagging with them too!”

With both counties still going strong in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship this year, Fallon’s might just be worth another visit later in the summer!