It was only a matter of time really, especially with newspaper headlines spouting tales of daily pub closures, decreasing footfall in our pubs and numerous other changes in our social habits. But the Irish are an ingenious lot, or so we constantly like to tell ourselves! And ladies and gentlemen, a solution has been found.
Well, when Muhammad won’t come to the mountain and all that …one enterprising gentlemen from Clarinbridge in county Galway solved the puzzle and the solution on is now on wheels, and could be coming to a back garden, a 21st or a 50th birthday party near you. What are we talking about?
It is of course ‘The Shebeen’, a Traditional Irish pub on wheels.
Why didn’t I think of that? It seems so obvious now, but that’s the thing about ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen and this idea has been spoken about across bar counters for years, with not a single person stepping up to the plate. You can picture the conversation, ‘Imagine if you didn’t have to walk, drive, take a taxi, bus, train or otherwise travel to the pub. Would that be your idea of heaven.? Damn sure! To many, this is a practical vision of nirvana. But it’s the person who actually transmutes that vision into something physical and practical that gets the plaudits and that person is John Walsh, a cabinet-maker from Galway.
The Shebeen is an old caravan that has been transformed into a mobile traditional Irish pub. John Walsh the creator of The Shebeen bought the caravan for Electric Picnic festival a couple of years back, and when he couldn’t sell it on afterwards, he decided to use it as part of a team-building exercise for his staff at Clinical Cabinets, a scientific laboratory and retail fit-out company based in Clarinbridge.
The initial project took 4 months to complete and the finished article has room to seat 10 comfortably. It has antique pictures, mirrors and pub memorabilia and the walls are papered in traditional patterned wallpaper. It has a music sound system, an electric stove heater, window boxes and inserts and fold down windows for outdoor entertaining. And of course needless to say, it has a fully functional bar with cooler and taps for draft beers etc.
What started as a fun exercise has quickly morphed into something much bigger than John could have ever imagined. The Shebeen has featured on The Late Late Show and TV3 and it has even appeared on Japanese TV. They will soon be heading to Boston to display the concept. Two local restaurateurs reached out to the company a couple of months back and wanted to procure their own mobile pubs to add to their services. A new style of Shebeen, called ‘The Connemara Shebeen’, has also just recently been added to their collection. It features a thatched roof and bigger internal space to fit more guests.
Irish people however seem to be taking this charming concept to their hearts, helped no doubt by the tagline, “‘The Shebeen’,…a little piece of Ireland in your backyard.” Want to hold a private party in your back garden?
Hire a Shebeen.
The afters of a wedding? 21st Party?
Hire a Shebeen.
One day hire is starts at €750.
Want it for the week-end? Prices start at €1,250. And if you really want to push the boat out, you can have your own Shebeen moored permanently in your back garden from a little over €30,000. Of course when you own it outright, you can take it anywhere that pleases you. It really gives a new meaning to the term ‘Road House’.