212 Ballynakilly Rd,
Attention all those husbands who want to go down to the pub on a Saturday afternoon when the wife wants them to visit the Garden Centre for some ideas for their own patch of greenery. Now they can do both at the same time, and treat the missus to a drive in the country and a lovely lunch into the bargain.
Outside Dungannon a few miles on the MI motorway, at the Coalisland turn-off, you’ll see a Services sign, and this refers to the Cohannon Inn, a licensed restaurant which, in its ten-year lifespan, has fairly well swept the boards in the Benson and Hedges Pub Garden Competition.Just listen to the line-up: Regional Winner of B and H United Kingdom Pub Garden in 1986, Runner-up in 1987, Winner in 1988, and Country Pub 1989 Winner of the Pub and Hotel Garden Competition.
The Cohannon, of course, has its own full-time gardener, local man Pat Scullion, whose green fingers may well make you green with envy, but you’re more likely to go home inspired with good intentions for your own garden. Certainly the grounds of the inn, which practically surround it with superb lawns, immaculate paths, plants, flowers and trees in attractive arrangements, and walled walks, drew high praise from no less than Roddy Llewellyn, when he presented one of the awards mentioned above.
The Cohannon is a winner inside as well.
There’s a lounge bar area, cosy and relaxing, a large function room, and the Huntsman’s Restaurant, all of which cater for passing travellers, regulars and visitors. Some of the items on display draw the eye: there’s an array of dinner plates, all different in design, but united in their pink and salmon colouring, ranged round the roof beams of the lounge. In the Huntsman Restaurant the eponymous hero seems to have been busy, to judge by the exhibition of antlers and horns above the doors – bison, stag, goat, antelope, buck, reindeer, moose and others too uncommon for my limited powers of identification.
Just across from them are all manner of swords and daggers – machete, claymore, dirk, bayonet, scimitar, broadsword, etc. It’s odd how these weapons have found a home in these most gentle and sedate surroundings!
The Cohannon Inn, with its eight new accommodation chalets, will match any American motel for standard of service, as the replies to the consumers’ questionnaire will corroborate. There’s a fair chance that the local champion of a different kind of green, Dennis Taylor, may call in during your visit if he’s back home in Coalisland, or travelling artistes, such as Philomena Begley, because the Cohannon Inn enjoys the support of everyone who gives it a try.