Crosskey's Inn

Portglenone, Co. Antrim

I was told of this pub by several Irish friends whose taste in music is impeccable and whose knowledge of same is indisputable, but when Davey Hammond, the well-known Belfast balladeer said it was a good place for music, I was certain it had to be special.

And special it is, a Mecca for Ulster practitioners of traditional music and ballads. The owner, Eamonn Stinson, weaves a warm atmosphere and welcomes converts to the eloquence of Irish music.

The setting for the music is perfect - an old country pub (once a coaching stop), with thatched roof and turf fires, situated near Lough Neagh and the broad River Bann.

Lough Neagh harbours many legends, as does almost every part of the Irish landscape. Beneath its waters, which reputedly can turn wood into stone, there is said to lie a town. The magic lake was create, goes the story, when the giant, Finn MacCool grabbed two handfuls of earth to throw at an enemy. The place where he dug filled up and became Lough Neagh, and the two fistfuls of earth became the Isle of Man.

On Lough Neagh's banks as the fisherman strays,
In the clear cool eve declining,
He sees the round towers of other days,
In the waves beneath him shining...
Thomas Moore

You can find the Crosskeys Inn in the town of Portglenone in Co. Antrim.

From the Appletree Press title: The Irish Pub Guide.
Also from Appletree: Irish Pub Songs.