Historic Crown Prepares for Another Chapter

Paul Griffin is the new man in The Crown. He is only a few days away from introducing the fine old building to its brand new lease of life and is planning to open the doors mid-afternoon on Wednesday.
Mr. Griffin can’t but be aware of the history the exposed stones in the newly and tastefully kitted out bar would convey to him if they could.
However, there are many willing to impart and reveal what the historic building means to the community it proudly stands among since it first took its place in ‘The Chapel Quarter’ in the 1800s.
It is no belittlement at all to anyone who ever stood behind the counter of the bar or put two cuts of bread together for a hungry visitor that the name of Betty Knight is and will remain synonymous with the building.
Synonymous too with the Market Town image and mindset she and a few more like her instilled in those who worked for them or tasted their wares or received their hospitality.
Paul Griffin knows this well.
The Knight name had been associated with the The Crown from 1846 – except for a few years when a Maurice Murphy took charge – until its sale out of the family in 1995.
The Athea native, Kilcummin resident began his working life scrubbing pots and pans in a hotel his aunt managed in Killarney.
He worked his way away from the big kitchen sink and, step-by-step, onto front-of-house positions in several well-starred hotels since.
Bar work was one of the great cambers in his long, learning curve in his almost two-and-a-half decades in the business.
Looking forward to his new career in Castleisland, Paul believes that the success in any such venture lies with the people the customers meet when they come through the doors of a premises.
“It is very important to treat your customers with courtesy and respect. I’m well aware what The Crown means to the people of Castleisland and the part it played in the community down through the years. I’ll be as happy with the couple of women who might like to come in and have a cup of tea after mass as I would with the person who’ll sit at the bar there all night,” said Paul.
“This will be a bar of talk and discussion and that – he said pointing to a TV over our heads – will only be on for news and by request of the customers.
“A good landlord behind the scenes is a gift to any business and I’m blessed here that I have one. Look at the work that was put in here and you get the idea,” he said.
Alterations to the decor run in a complimentary parallel and acknowledgement of the history of the town. The famous, old snug in The Crown is now a more open plan ‘office’ and is furnished with a fine streak of an old drapery counter from The Market House – complete with brass rule.
The foot-rest throughout the bar is a railway girder – in deference to the town’s century long association with the culture of the iron horse.
Music will play a huge part in the day-to-day life of The Crown. Paul Griffin knows nine-tenths of the musicians in Ireland today and his son claimed an All-Ireland Banjo title only a few years ago.
While the immediate plans are to open the doors to the bar and let the house breathe again, the next logical step is to get the copious and well equipped kitchen and spacious dining / function room up and running.
That’s in the planning for January. Then, private and public functions and parties will be catered for in a town-centre location. You can follow the fortunes of The Crown Bar and Restaurant with a click here: https://www.facebook.com/The-Crown-Bar-Restaurant-1055565854456488/