History of the Roadside Tavern
The Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna is a world famous Clare pub. It sprung up with Lisdoonvarna in the mid 19th century. The pub was established by a local landlord, Pierce Creagh.
It was bought in 1893 by Christopher Curtin, a baker by trade. He married Nora and they expanded the business to include a bakery. The arrival of the West Clare Railway into Ennistymon heralded a new era for Lisdoonvarna as a holiday destination and it also allowed the Curtins to develop a sideline as wholesale butter merchants.
Nora and Christopher ran the business together until 1944 when they handed it over to the youngest son, John, and his newly wed wife, the former Mary Monahan from Clonroad, Ennis.
They had difficult times ahead with the post-war depressions years. Nevertheless, the business survived and Peter says that Roadside is now the only true pub in Lisdoonvarna, the rest are hotels and lounge bars. Peter's father died a good many years ago and his mother died in more recent times. As well as the pub Peter runs the nearby popular Burren Smokehouse and is a keen local historian.
The Roadside Tavern is a well-known venue for traditional music for well over a hundred years. Many well known names have entertained the patrons of the Roadside down the years to the present. They include Christy Moore, Davy Spillane, Tommy Peoples, the Fureys, Seán Tyrrell, Paul Dooley, Christy Barry, Mickaleen Conlon, Sharon Shannon and many more.
Many famous people have passed through the Roadside Tavern over the years. On the walls are many photographs, posters, illustrations, musical instruments etc, which gives an wonderful living history of the North Clare area and the Roadside Tavern itself.
In June 2011, I got talking to two photographers in the pub. I told them about a photography taken of me years ago lying in a tub in the spa building in Lisdoonvarna. That photograph was published in a book, and it is the one I am holding up here. Jack Daulton took this great picture - have a look at his amazing photographs on his website!
The Odd Man In
A collaboration between Yvonne Vaughan and Peter Curtin
There is a direct connection between the Irish MacCurtains/Curtins and the Choctaw nation in the USA.
In the late 1670's, three Curtin Brothers went to the newly discovered continent of North America. One Curtin had five children with a Choctaw Indian, and now there are around 4,500 Choctaw/Curtin in the United States.
There is a McCurtain County in Oklahoma, and several Curtins were tribal Choctaw chiefs.
In 1845, during the Great Famine in Ireland, the Choctaw nation donated 170 US Dollars to famine relief in Ireland despite the fact that 15 years earlier the Choctaw nation lost half their population in the "Journey of Tears". 21,000 Indians perished in the journey to Oklahoma when they were driven from their lands in the area of today's states of Mississippi and Oklahoma. President Mary Robinson went to the States to thank the Chocktaw nation for their generosity to the Irish nation.
The photograph is a collaboration between photographer Yvonne Vaughan and Peter Curtin called "THE ODD MAN IN", and it is a symbol of our two cultures - the CURTINS AND THE CHOCTAWS.