A PAIR of Irish friends living together in the UK have found the perfect way to pass the time during lockdown: converting their front room into an Irish pub.
The Craic Inn is the brainchild of Dara Woods and Tommy Mc TomTom, two Irish musicians living and working in Lancaster.
Described as “temporary Irish Pub during lockdown" the two friends have been broadcasting live from The Craic Inn on Facebook ever since residents across the UK were ordered to stay indoors as part of the nationwide lockdown.
It's provided a welcome beacon of good craic and great music for anyone feeling the strain of life indoors.
“We play music every weekend in pubs mainly because we love Guinness and the pub atmosphere,” Dara told The Irish Post.
“As soon as the pubs were told to be closed, we decided we needed our own pub. I always wanted my own mobile Irish bar - to promote Irish music - and had the name The Craic Inn for a few years now.”
While it would have been straightforward enough for Dara and Tommy to stock up on cans of Guinness and other classic Irish tipples, they knew they had to go a little further if they wanted to replicate the true Irish pub experience.
As Dara explains: “We all know the only way to drink Guinness is from the tap so we put out shout out to our landlord friends for a barrel.
“Thankfully, our local and favourite spot to play the John o Gaunt in Lancaster came to the rescue and arrived with a barrel of Guinness and all the supplies the next day.”
The pair have been performing Irish folk favourites alongside a pint or two ever since with The Craic Inn garnering a good following online.
With people across Ireland and much of the world pining for the sense of community and social spirit provided by the humble pub, it’s little wonder that The Craic Inn is so well received – and supported.
“We appreciate it’s a difficult time for everyone so good to see a few heads enjoying us trying to lift the spirits,” Dara said.
“My personal highlight was when we ran out of Guinness after our live stream gig and less than 24hours later a new barrel was delivered by the Boardwalk pub in Morecambe.”
The pub has also proven a haven for fellow folk musicians with Charlie Galloway of the Fureys among those to perform a set of trad tunes broadcast on the page.
As two Irishman who know what makes a pub great - “Good pints (Guinness), welcoming staff, friendly customers and great music” according to Dara – the plan is to live up to the pub’s name and keep the good times rolling with more live gigs, drinks and good times aplenty.
"Our main plan is to keep the kegs of Guinness and the craic flowing - if anyone can help us we have all currencies of cash - but we will keep trying to create a great Irish pub atmosphere.”
The lads have received another boost in recent days too after landing a supply of Irish pub snacks - packs of Tayto included.
And, all being well, they hope to one day welcome a few more customers into The Craic Inn too - lockdown permitting.
In the meantime, the pair are eager to pay tribute to the incredible work of the NHS in the UK while noting “it’s great to watch how well the Irish are dealing with this” and health minister Simon Harris – who they tell us is an old school friend.
Here’s to many more pints to come. Sláinte!
Anyone wanting to join the party or contribute to the lads' efforts, can head over to the pub here.