42 Loy Street
Cookstown There are few words more evocative than the word gaslight – yellow haloed lights glimmering through the smog of northern industrial towns; faint forms fading and flickering to the snoring, purring globed gas burner, foggy turn of the century London streets with a hint of Jack the Ripper menace; gentlemen’s carriages outside raucous can-can Music halls.
The images of a gaslight past are more than just mind pictures when you visit a certain pub in Cookstown, though.
The Gaslight with its artistic swinging sign and sepia photo in the entrance hall, is, in anybody’s book, a great pub.
As soon as you enter you are enveloped in the fragrance of turf fire and burning as light.
Yes, the wall lights are actual gas lamps, glowing With that distinctive yellow light and casting their own shimmering shadows over the original rough stone walls. It’s hard to believe that this pub, once the Premier, lay closed for IO years before it was re-opened as The Gaslight, a perfect recreation of a Victorian or early Edwardian hotel-style bar.
This is, in fact, one of the oldest pubs in the town, with a licence going back to 1839, and it’s therefore fitting that it should now enjoy a second wind, as it were, in its former style. It’s actually a three-level pub, with a perfect loft bar that is an old Music Hall in miniature.
Then at the back of the public bar is a lovely little downstairs area with a roaring fire and three old stringed instruments on the mantelpiece a lute, a banjo, and a mandolin. The main bar has a piano setting just as you would expect, and round at the other side of the counter, there’s a black slate fireplace that came out of the room in which Mr. Regan, the owner, was born.
It’s the kind of place where you’d expect to open the register and find the large, carefully handwritten signatures of guests dated 1883 or 1904. For atmosphere and authenticity, The Gaslight would take some beating: it’s just the place for a Dr. Crippen party.