THE pub which featured in hit film The Banshees of Inisherin has been rebuilt and reopened in County Galway.
JJ Devine's Public house was purpose-built for the multi-award-winning Irish film and created to look like it had existed in Cloughmore, Achill Island, where the story follows lifelong friends Pádraic (Colin Farrell) and Colm (Brendan Gleeson), who find themselves at an impasse when Colm unexpectedly puts an end to their friendship.
Many scenes that are central to the plot are played out in the pub, so many fans of the film were disappointed to learn that there was no such place in reality and that the temporary pub structure was removed as soon as filming wrapped.
Luckily Galway publican Luke Mee, of Mee's Bar in Kilkerrin, had the instinct to go ahead and retrieve the original set of the bar so that it could be repurposed and he has since spent many arduous hours with friends, family and neighbours rebuilding the bar to its former glory.
The process to recreate JJ's has been a long one, he admits, which all began when Mr Mee first heard that the famous set had been lying in an Achill Island yard since filming wrapped some months previously.
"A few months had gone by since the filming finished and I heard the set had been taken down and was in a yard in Achill, but in very good condition,” he told The Irish Post.
“I waited for a period of time to see if anyone else showed any interest before taking it to Kilkerrin.”
He explained: "I had the space to put it out the back of Mee's Bar and knew that I would be able to restore it and preserve it, so I brought it here.”
Having transported the fictional public house over 180 kilometres to its new home in east Galway, in the months that have since passed the Mee family have been working away on getting JJ Devine’s ready to open to the public.
"It would not have been possible without the help of family, good friends and neighbours who have given up their time and energy to come and help this very important project,” Mr Mee said.
"The pub is such a big part of film history and it is important to maintain it and make it into something that people can come to visit with their friends and enjoy, although we have a ban on cutting fingers off and throwing them,” he added.
This week Mr Mee opened the pub to the public, who will recognise key pieces from the film.
The structure is entirely the original, down to the glass panes that featured significantly in the movie, when Padraic stared morosely out the window at his former best-friend-turned-foe, Colm.
Mr Mee is excited to finally welcome those who loved the film in for a pint, but adds that a free pour is already reserved for a celebrity fan.
Singer Taylor Swift has spoken publicly of her fondness for the Banshees pub, which she claimed she would come and visit if it was ever rebuilt.
Mr Mee has confirmed that there is an open invitation and a free pint waiting for Ms Swift if she ever makes it to the Galway watering hole.
"She would be very welcome to come to see the pub and enjoy herself and enjoy JJ Devine's first free pint,” he says.
JJ Devine's Public House opened to the public this week, but an official opening is planned for later this month.