Sligo pub finds worldwide fame overnight thanks to 'Normal People'

Sligo pub finds worldwide fame overnight thanks to 'Normal People'

THIS IS one pub that's going to be very busy once the lockdown is over.

Killoran's pub in the town of Tubbercurry, Sligo is like many other village pubs in Irish country towns, with ceol, craic agus ól-- but then something happened to set it apart.

The pub has gained worldwide recognition practically overnight because it featured in the phenomenally popular BBC show Normal People, a TV adaption of Sally Rooney's novel of the same name.

Like formerly little-known actors Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar Jones, Killoran's pub is reaping the benefit of the show's critical acclaim, and has shot to fame since the show aired last month.

But, like the actors, the pub cannot yet reap the benefits of its new-found recognition, due to the lockdown measures which have been implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Pub owner Tommy Killoran, however, hopes that once things get back to some normality the town Tubbercurry and County Sligo may see a rush of tourism from Normal People fans across Ireland and overseas, similar to the wave of tourism Northern Ireland experienced after being heavily featured in Game of Thrones.

He spoke to The Irish Mirror where he described what it was like being behind the scenes of the devastatingly sad episode (spoilers ahead!) in which Connell and Marianne return to Carricklea for a funeral, and admitted "we had no sense that it was going to be this big".

Much of the BBC series was shot on location in Sligo, including in Killoran's pub in Tubbercurry (Image: BBC)

“They had their own security on the door, people were going up and down the street wondering what was going on in Killoran’s.”

“All the extras were sitting down having their sandwiches because it was a funeral," the experienced barman said, saying the scene was very realistic.

He was asked to appear in the episode as the barman but declined, instead opting for "going around making sure everyone was alright".

Like many small Irish pubs that have years under their belt-- Killoran's opened in 1957-- the bar has collected numerous trinkets and traditional artefacts, and Tommy said some of these had to be removed during filming as they were blocking out the actors.

“I have antique phones, I have shoes, I have lanterns, jerseys, plates, picture frames that we have gathered from 1957 hanging from the roof.

“When they came to film they sent in a crew to remove some of them because there was so many they couldn’t see, they couldn’t film with all these things I had hanging off the roof.”

While Tommy says the show is "not my cup of tea", he appreciates the boost it has given to the county (Normal People / BBC)

While he admits the show is "not really my cup of tea", he says "it's probably for young people which is fair enough".

He hopes the huge popularity of the show-- which has even reached the houses of the Kardashians, one of whom recently tweeted demanding a season two-- will be good for business and the town of Tubbercurry itself.

“The pubs and businesses in the town would greatly benefit if we could get all those tours into Tubbercurry and people could come over and see where it is filmed," he told The Irish Mirror.

“It would be fantastic, the town is crying out for something, it would be a huge boost.