6TH GENERATION FAMILY BUSINESS
Meet David, Barry & Annette Keenan
Keenan’s of Tarmonbarry has been a landmark, watching over the historic River Shannon crossing for centuries. For more than 150 years it has been in the ownership of the Keenan family who have sympathetically developed it into the thriving pub, restaurant and hotel it is today.
Barry Keenan’s great great grandfather bought the property in the 1860s and now he has handed the reins to his son David, the sixth generation of the family to manage the business. Barry’s love of history is evident in the traditional pub interior with its original furnishings including whiskey mirrors which have reflected pub life for the best part of a century.
Keenan’s is situated at a great crossroads – where a major east-west road crosses the mighty Shannon bisecting the country north to south. It is a chameleon – serving different people in many different ways. To the weary traveller, it is a halfway point on their journey, a perfect pitstop, serving excellent food with efficiency and friendliness. To the business person it’s an ideally located four star boutique hotel, within easy reach of seven counties, comfortable and well appointed. To those living nearby it’s their local, the best pint in town and the best chat too by all accounts. To the holidaymaker Keenan’s is all of these things, whether they are cruising the Shannon, staying in the nearby holiday houses or using the hotel as their base.
Recently, new visitors have begun to arrive – on bicycles. They are triumphant, delighted at completing the new Royal Canal Greenway, the linear cycle path along the nearby canal tow path. Their welcome is complete when they discover bike racks and secure lock ups for their trusty steed and even a bicycle delivery/collection service to the door.
Keenan’s is a stage point on the National Famine Way, where walkers and cyclists on the 165km route can get their passports stamped. The historic trail follows the footsteps of 1,490 people who walked from nearby Strokestown Park House to famine ships in Dublin at the height of the great famine in 1847.
Annette Keenan, Barry’s wife, is passionate about good food. Having begun catering at the pub almost by accident, she dived in with enthusiasm, and plenty of ability enhanced with formal training. She is tireless in upskilling her culinary nous, bringing in new ideas to the kitchen, and gathering a talented, enthusiastic kitchen team who take pride in every dish they serve. This is evident from the menus, a winning combination of classic favourites and contemporary dishes with a healthy twist which make Keenan’s stand out from the crowd. Their Paris-trained pastry chef ensures mouth-watering choice of desserts including delicacies like Financiers. His speciality gluten-free and vegan desserts sell out every time. Keenan’s has a coveted ‘name for good food’ and keep their standards high.
David Keenan brings proficiency of a different kind. He combines a high level business and finance background with the irreplaceable knowledge that comes from working in the business from an early age. He’s also a passionate sports fan and senior Roscommon football player.
Together the Keenan family have nurtured and developed a unique establishment, cherishing all that is good about its history while staying relevant to a contemporary clientele.
Keenan’s pub was originally founded in 1838 by Hubert Reynolds. It is steeped in history with many generations of old photographs adorn the walls, to help our memory recall.
A great grand-father of Barry Keenan, known locally as ‘The Great J M’ D.’ from Dromod, Co.Leitrim, published a book in 1886 called , “Irish National Poems”, which contains a selection of poems which he wrote during that period. A very humble man indeed, most of his poetry being written at night or on Sunday evenings, so little time had he to call his own – being a working farmer. “I am, therefore, obliged to place my unpretending little work before the public “with all it’s faults”. However, I trust my readers will bear in mind that my aim has ever been to infuse hope and courage into the hearts and minds of my countrymen, and to hasten, as far as in my power lay, Ireland’s deliverance, so that the good object the author had in view may outweigh the defects in the workmanship” J M’D. 1886.
We hold the original copy here and there is another copy in the archives of the National Library in Dublin.
Relax & Enjoy Special Occasions at Keenan's Hotel
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