This was my first time at Coughlan’s, which is a one of those fabulous old style pubs, a listed building, which has been in the Coughlan and Ellis family for over 200 years. The gig happens in a little room at the very back of the pub, which is no bigger than a large dining room.
Annette who manages the music at the venue maximises every inch of space so that as many people as possible can enjoy the gigs – we were lucky to get in and only for an intervention by Mark himself (yep, we’re one of those “fans” who he knows by name – so many great chats after gigs.. Mark is like that) we would have been home early.
Mark was brilliant as always with his mix of great songs, fabulous guitar work, the very talented backing singer Grainne Hunt, a terrific keyboard player, Mark Penny and of course flavoured with his quick wit and story telling…his “da” was from Charleville (where they eat their children, apparently!!).
Mark launched into song after song including a great track called “Ghosts” , the theme song from one of his superb albums …he spoke to us about his dad and I thought about my own family.
This would have been one of my granddads locals – Jack Burke lived literally 100 feet away from the pub, living at the bottom of High Street. He drank there and apparently my great grandmother had the odd tipple in the snug – women would not have gone into the main bar.
My mum hates drink because my granddad who she loved to bits spent way too much of his life in the pub and way too much of the family budget, which was badly needed to raise 5 children. She always worried about the form he would be in when he came back from the pub and hated “that” smell of whiskey.
My granddad passed away 47 years ago just after I was born.
As we left I looked around the pub at the old bar counter, the old seats, the old pictures on the wall and imagined all of the customers down through years who sat there, sipping on their whiskey and having the banter and I tried to picture Jack Burke sitting on his stool with a family anxiously waiting for him, wondering when he would be home.