The Irish Pub
★★★ (Out of 5)
“TRADITION is important, now more than ever,” say Bobby and Ray Blackwell, father and son proprietors of the celebrated De Barra’s pub in Clonakilty, Co. Cork.
The venue has a deep cultural heritage that stands as a monument to an Irish social institution.
Bobby and Ray are among the many pub landlords and landladies to appear in Alex Fegan’s life-affirming documentary The Irish Pub.
Fegan’s film offers a profile of a resilient staple in Irish life and it opens the annual Irish Film Festival London at the Tricycle Cinema on Wednesday, November 20.
The Irish Pub is a filmic antidote to the modern gastro bar, where the barmen can’t pour the porter properly and the fancy drinks are a funny colour.
“Our grandparents opened the pub on St Patrick’s Day, 1900,” say sisters Nan and Patricia Brennan, veteran keepers of a family establishment in Bundoran.
Fegan observes many enduring boozers (both pubs and patrons) across Ireland, his camera frame crammed with the bric-a-brac of ornamented shelves, decorated mirrors, rare whiskey bottles and rusty farm tools.
The Irish Pub is unabashedly nostalgic but it honours an authenticity that’s worth preserving.
This movie will recall memories of settling down with a jar in a warmly-lit bar, while an ancient air from a fiddle wafts across the room.
The Irish Pub is released on DVD today (Monday, November 25).