Belfast Telegraph

Historic pub with Irish culture links on sale

By Margaret Canning

An historic pub in Newtownabbey linked with Celtic revivalist Francis Joseph Biggar is on the market for £325,000.

Lawyer Francis Biggar was a founding member of the Ulster Public House Reform Association, which took over the running of the Crown and Shamrock in 1901.

A blue plaque was put up in 2011 to mark Bigger’s association with the hostelry.

The pub has been owned by the same family, who did not wish to be identified, since the 1930s.

However, Mark Carron of commercial property agents Osborne King said that the owners had decided to put it on the market due to retirement. 

“It has an interesting background and it’s a nice, quaint pub. We have had some interest in it so far. 

“We do think there is untapped potential there, as it has been used only for drinks sales. It would lend itself to someone including food — and as there is half an acre around it, it could lend itself to redevelopment, too.” 

Osborne King is also selling the Old George in Rathfriland, Co Down, again on behalf of a private seller.  The pub, which also has seven bedrooms on its upper floor, is on the market for £300,000.

Mr Carron said the market was improving. “There are still two pub markets — Belfast, and then the provincial areas outside Belfast.

“But we are finding that we are now dealing just with private sellers, and that the era of distressed sales is over.”

The Crown and Shamrock had traded in the late 1890s as a grocery store and evolved into a halting point for stagecoaches.  But according to legend, it had gained a poor reputation — prompting the Church of Ireland to intervene and ask Mr Biggar and the Ulster Public House Reform Association to run it. 

Mr Biggar was the son of a Church of Ireland family from Biggerstown near Mallusk. He was a solicitor by training, but later devoted himself to studying Irish archaeology and history. 

He was an advocate of Irish culture, including language, music and song. 

Belfast Telegraph