Address :
10 William St,
BT66 6JA

Enid Blyton fans, and there must still be a few of them left, will remember her Secret Seven and Famous Five, the boys and girls who found themselves at the centre of mystery adventures in book after book.
It was the phrase ‘Famous Five’ that came to mind when we visited Lurgan and learned that three of the town’ leading pubs are run by a brotherhood (quite literally) of five members, five McConaghy brothers, who are responsible for the Ashburn Hotel, The Beehive Bar, and the Woodville.

Is this some kind of record, we wonder?

The Beehive is a working man’s bar, and has no pretensions to be anything else. A town needs an honest-to-goodness pub for the upper middle-aged and older customer, and the Beehive fits the bill very nicely indeed.

Its owner and manager is Jarlath McConaghy, a friendly and helpful publican if ever there was one. It was from these premises that the McConagy “empire” began, started by their father, Thomas, whose picture can be seen on the wall, beautifully painted in living colour by a customer using a photograph as his source.

The early history of the pub is not all that clear, although it was in 1959 that Mr. McConaghy bought it, and at that time there was a beehive engraved on the single large front window. Today that has gone, although the distinctive beehive shape has been retained in the woodworking round the mirror in the showcase cabinet.

Jarlath, who has been in charge here for about ten years, would welcome any information about a certain Valentine Harrison, a former owner, whose name still remains in mosaic on the bar floor, where the two entrances used to be before one of them was removed during structural alterations.

All he has been able to ascertain is that this Valentine Harrison emigrated to America, so if you have any further facts about him, please make a beeline to the Beehive. Your information will be like honey to the owner.

Two more features attach to this pleasant pub: one sporting and of today, one literary and from yesterday. The hugely successful Oxford United football team, named after nearby Oxford Island, plays out of here, and the bar fairly abounds with the evidence of their triumphs.

In the present season, they have won three of the five major trophies in junior soccer, and also enjoy the distinction of being the only team to have won the Junior Cup a record four times.

On the bar wall, facing the counter, is the much- prized Mid-Ulster Shield, and it shares space with the League Cup and the Alexander Cup. The large colour photograph of the Oxford United team in the Beehive Bar, Lurgan is the pride of the pub, and probably the envy of many other teams and public houses.
Now for the literary association. This is the very house, No. IO William Street, in which the famous Ulster poet, George Russell, was born and lived for a period. Russell, known as A.E., was born in 1867 and spent his early life in Lurgan, although most of his productive life as a writer was spent in Dublin.

He was one of Ulster’s most original men of letters, a great mystic, devotee of beauty and promoter of the Fairy Kingdom. Russell, who met with much opposition in Ireland in his lifetime, was poet, prose writer, noted painter, economist and raconteur, and it was he who stimulated Yeats’s interest in magic, mythology and the supernatural.

Although a nationalist and a great lover of Ireland and all things Irish, he was never blind to his country’s shortcomings: We are less children of this clime Than of some nation yet unborn Or Empire in the womb of Time; We hold the Ireland in the heart More than the land our eyes have seen.
And love the goal for which we start More than the tale of what has been.