Courtney's Bar – Killarney
Courtney's is one of Killarney's oldest and most popular bars, it has been operating as a public house since 1891 and remains in the ownership of the Courtney Family to this day. The classic and much photographed frontage is now under a protection order whilst the bare wood interior retains the old world atmosphere of the traditional "Teach Tairbhne". Located on Plunkett Street (renamed after Joseph Mary Plunkett one of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising), the bar is deceptively big, stretching all the way to the Ross laneway in the shadows of St. Marys' Church of Ireland. Brewery Lane is adjacent to the rear of the bar so we can only surmise there was a fermenting if not distilling tradition in times past!
The bar has been managed over the last ten years by Brian Murphy, a long time friend of the Courtney family. Brian has an enviable knowledge of and passion for Irish whiskey, having previously worked for Irish Distillers. Courtney's offers a Drinks Menu which lists over 50 Irish and 30 Scottish Whiskies as well as a smattering of Bourbon and Japanese Whiskey. Brian's favourite whiskey story to date centres around a former American footballer on a weekend trip to Killarney who famously ordered six Dungourney 1964 (at a very reasonable €45.00 /measure) and proceeded to knock back in double quick time! Suffice to say the exultant local who benefited from this largesse was still nursing his wee dram two hours later! Courtney's also has a very impressive range of Irish craft beers (again, about 50 different types), including the Dingle brewed Tom Crean lager, so it's an excellent place to discover both Ireland's distilling and brewing traditions. Brian will also offer tutored whiskey tastings on demand for groups of 6 or more. Please contact him by email or phone in advance to book.
No piece on Courtney's would be complete without a reference to Live Music which is almost synonymous with the premises. A favourite watering hole of many local musicians, the bar has hosted many famous (and not so famous!) musicians over the years, including Johnny Fean, John Spillane, Sean McCarthy, David Gray, Stephen Travers, Tim O' Shea and many more. You can enjoy live contemporary music every Friday throughout the year, with Traditional session Wednesdays and Thursdays in season. Some memorable Gigs have also been hosted in the upstairs bar which comfortably caters for up to one hundred guests.
Killarney is of course noted a tourist destination and not without reason, sporting some of the finest sights in Ireland. The local Tourist Office on Beech Road will be happy to assist in guiding you to the more prominent amongst them, however an hour spent chatting to your friendly barman may open up some hereto undiscovered gems!!
We will let the last word to one Richard Stanihurst(1547-1618), a noted Irish alchemist, poet and novelist who described whiskey thus: "Being moderately taken.....it sloweth age, it strengtheneth youth, it helpeth digestion, it cutteth flegme, it abandoneth melancholie, it relisheth the heart, it lighteneth the mind, it quickeneth the spirits........."
We could'nt have put it better ourselves!
Courtney's Bar, 24 Plunkett Street, Killarney, Co. Kerry
Tel.: +353 (0)64 6632689