Last year I rolled off the bus in Tubbercurry and into the hands of Paul Murphy, the owner of Murphy’s Hotel. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing there, but I was promised a damned good time, and so I went for it. It was my intro to Sligo, and I mean, how can you not fall in love with a place named Tubbercurry? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
(A quick Google has revealed to me that Tubberycurry means “well of the corrie.” But I prefer to think it means “a tub of curry,” so let’s go with that.)
If you’re looking for things to do in Tubbercurry, start here. The same goes for Banada, both townships of Co. Sligo.
1. Killorans Traditional Lounge and Restaurant
This place is pretty much a museum disguised as a lounge and restaurant. So really it’s the best kind of museum – one that comes with Guinness and treacle scones and molasses. Paul introduced me to Ann Killoran, the owner (obvs), and she told us a bit about the place. I also met the mayor, who just showed up for a chat. Ireland is funny.
But you’ll spend most of the time with your eyes wandering the walls and ceilings, where you’ll find everything from purses to shoes dangling from hooks. There are even boots belonging to the great Sligo GAA player, Mickey Kerins. Just ask Ms. Killoran about any object, and she’ll have a story for you.
2. Nathy Brennan’s Pub
Sensing a theme here? It’s clear I like pubs, especially small Irish pubs with wood stoves blasting heat into the chilly spring air and walls plastered in souvenirs and memorabilia. Dollar bills, flags, photographs, etc. The place is run by Nathy Brennan and his sister, an elderly duo with big warm hearts. Oh how I miss those charming Irish lilts dancing over a Guinness like music.
3. The Banada Peace Garden
You’d never know this stretch of greenery wildlife existed from the outside, in Banada. Aside: don’t you love the name Banada? I could chant it all day. Banada, Banada, Banada.
The gardens are a “symbol of reconciliation and cross-border collaboration.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I guess it has something to do with peace. Walking through here was like being in the setting of a Neil Gaiman book, complete with wild hens sitting on eggs and brooks babbling about their day. Hi, how are you? I’m good, thanks.
4. The famine pots
Famine pots probably don’t classify as “quirky,” but they can be found all over Ireland and there are several in Tubbercurry and Banada (including inside Killorans). The Famine Pots are cast iron and held free soup for those suffering during the famine. They were supplied by the government under the Soup Kitchen Act to prevent starvation. How’s that for dark history?
5. Banada’s Tapestry of Ties
This tapestry of ties was donated by famous people to promote peace in Ireland. It was launched by Dr. Paisley, who dubbed it the “ties of peace” project. Over 300 people donated ties, including politicians, US athletes, and celebrities. That’s Mary Quinn on the right, from the Banada Development Association.
It’s kind of like a quilt, but a quilt with a mission. The prettiest darn quilt you’ve ever seen.