Renamed: Thirsty J’s
86 Chapel Street
Cookstown is known as the town with the longest, widest main street in all of Ireland, but perhaps not so well known is that a number of its pubs are conforming to this pattern and seem to stretch out far and wide in a very distinctive fashion.
One such bar is the Conway Inn, which must have the distinction of being the longest bar in the longest street in Ireland.
The counter itself, which only runs a part of the length of the pub, stretches a modest fifty feet.
Admittedly, the bar is divided into three areas divided off by curved alcoves and arches, but these separate areas are all served by the one bar.
The inn takes its name from the original owners, a family who opened it in the early eighties.
It’s a fine modern bar, with a mixture of high bar stool seating and tapestried open snugs, with a pool table-cum-disco area at the back.
Two particular features stand out: a large sandstone fireplace, fronted by a couple of lovely rocking chairs, and some beautiful woodwork that has been scorched with a blowlamp to bring up the color and grain.
There’s a most unusual wood carving at one end of the counter, hand carved by a certain John Quinn of Ardboe (they pronounce it Queen in this part of the country, and it is the most common name in the County), and given to the Conways who hailed originally from the same district. It shows a fox, a deer, a rifle, and a pheasant, and is a remarkable piece of carving.
Time and the Conways have moved on, and the inn is now under new management.
It looks like a young bar, but during my visit, the customers seemed to range from late teens to ‘young’ pensioners. Like many of the pubs in Cookstown, the Conway Inn is a very good pub and well worth a visit.