Barfly: The Greenore Railway Saloon, Dundalk, Co Louth

A back-of-the-bar extension gives this already elegant slice of history the feel of a 19th-century railway waiting room

Awonderful story has been unfolding in the Greenore Railway Saloon in Dundalk since Declan Tinnelly bought it in 1988.

A cabinet maker by trade, Tinnelly had the skills to craft a future for this slice of history that another landlord might have lost. From the doorway, the long bar reaches out and around, encouraging you to enter: dark woods, rich red ceiling, aged wallpaper, tiled floor – it’s the perfect entrance.

There’s romance here, where light and shade bounce off spotless surfaces, casting shadows through the dappled glass in the tall wooden dividers that break up the space. It wears its age and history well. There’s a hatch in the back door through which women once ordered before boarding the train at the now closed station. Antique mirrors, clocks and curio collections line the walls (Finding them is an addiction, Tinnelly says).

The extended “new” part of the bar unfolds effortlessly. Once the landlord’s living quarters, walls were removed and spaces remoulded, revealing the fireplace, quiet corners and a fantastic back room, each linking old and new with ease.

This extension was once the new chapter in the story of the Greenore, but the latest twist in the tale is the space created outside, at the back of the bar. It was dreamt up as a smoking room, but soon outgrew its intention. The fantastic glass-covered, white-tiled room that leapt from Declan’s imagination is really something to behold. Modelled on a 19th-century railway waiting room, it marries this classic Irish saloon with a sense of drama that shouldn’t work but does.

It’s a signature space, flooded with light, that speaks of Declan and wife Jane’s ambition for the Greenore. They don’t live here, but it is their home, and they’re proud to welcome you in.

The Greenore Railway Saloon, Dundalk, Co Louth

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Published by Gary Quinn

Writer on the Sea Road. Gary Quinn is a writer and editor based in Dublin. He's the author of the Harper Collins book Irish Whiskey (2020) and writes about whisk(e)y for the Single Malt Shop, The Irish Times, Stories & Sips and others. He has won several national and international awards for his writing and media work.

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