Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

McCarthy’s Hotel


McCarthys Hotel/Pub in Fethard in Co. Tipperary, is just one of those place that you cannot help but fall in love with.

Whenever anyone says lets go to McCarthys the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and the car keys are in my hands as fast as I can find them. Food, Coffee or a pint a good old chat for a Saturday afternoon.

I took the following three images about four years ago:

Contax G2, 45mm lens, Ilford Xp2 400iso film

McCarthy's 168

McCarthy's 169

McCarthy's 170


Established in the 1850’s

Established by Richard McCarthy in the 1850’s McCarthy’s Hotel provided the services of a spirit merchant, restaurant, hotel, undertaker, draper, grocer, baker, hackney service, glass, delph and china shop and if you still couldn’t get what you want – hire a few horses to take you elsewhere. Continuing in this tradition the present proprietor, Annette Murphy (fourth generation McCarthy), has a pub, restaurant and undertaker business which she runs with her family (fifth generation McCarthy).

McCarthy’s is situated in the medieval town of Fethard in Co. Tipperary. Formerly a very important market town in the 16th century, the town fell into decline. In the past twenty years the country in general, and Fethard in particular, has thrived – due in no small part to the equine scene in Coolmore and its associated farms plus numerous trainers and breeders dotted around Fethard. The re-discovery of our medieval past is of great importance to Fethard. Much of the medieval walls which surround the town have remained intact and a large portion of these walls have been restored. The town has been described as the most important walled town in Ireland next to Derry and is fast becoming the focal point for medieval scholars and tourists alike. For more information visit the Fethard Web Site:

McCarthy’s success is based on a mix of the old and the new. The interior is unchanged since Richard McCarthy opened for business in the 1850’s. McCarthy’s were lucky that in the 1970’s, when great changes swept Ireland, three old ladies, Beatty, Kitty and Nell, ruled McCarthy’s and were unwilling to modernise the premises to a “lounge bar”. People still return expecting to meet the old ladies (now deceased) sitting in the office drinking tea and surveying the comings and goings of life from the office door.

The McCarthy’s are closely involved with sporting activities and with horses in particular. Dick was a professional jockey who also played hurling, football, rugby, polo and was a champion amateur boxer. His brothers Gus and Chris were amateur jockeys. Gus was also a noted footballer who won an all-Ireland medal with Tipperary and who also played on the ill-fated Bloody Sunday Tipperary team in Croke Park on Nov. 21, 1920. The current generation are as keenly involved in both horses and Gaelic games.


McCarthy’s is also a place of interest for those who believe in the supernatural. A sign was given before the deaths of the last generation of McCarthy’s, usually a picture falls from the wall for no apparent reason. Three loud knocks on the front door were heard by people at both sides of the door before Beattie’s death. Ghosts were spotted recently by Mark Lonergan and John O’Connor (at night) and by Ciarán Hayes in the afternoon!

So next time you see somebody sitting quietly sipping a pint in the corner – you might be the only one who can see him!

McCarthy’s is well known the world over and has been filmed by Channel 4, BBC, Good Morning America, Sky News and many more. Many well known personalities have also visited McCarthy’s over the years including Eamon De Valera, Michael Collins, Mick Doyle, John Magnier, Vincent O’Brien, Robert Sangster, Julian Wilson, Lester Pigott, Richard Dunwoody, Adrian Maguire, Martin Pipe, Charlie Swan, Tommy Stack, Tommy Carberry, Alex Ferguson,
Dr. A. J. F. O’Reilly, Lord Lloyd Webber and his brother Julian. Sir David Frost, Alan Parker, Rod Taylor, Angela Rippon, Peter Curling and of course Paul Carberry – the only jockey to ride into McCarthy’s on a horse.

14 responses

  1. 1annecasey

    Beautiful images – even if the subject is a bit spooky!

    April 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    • 🙂

      Yes ! if you look very closely at the reflection in the glass window of the last image

      NO 🙂

      April 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

  2. I love the photos. Interesting piece 🙂

    April 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

  3. Visiting Ireland is on my bucket list! Beautiful images!

    April 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

  4. Think I have to add McCarthy’s to my to do list. Wonderful images!

    April 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    • Thank you Freddy!

      Let me know I will get them in!!


      April 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

  5. paulscribbles

    Wonderful collection of images Nigel. Gotta love Ilford film.

    April 6, 2013 at 12:05 am

    • Thank you Paul that a lovely comment!!

      Yes when I was using film more it was always Ilford’s for B&W

      I have been doing a lot of scanning this last few weeks and have been amazed at how good the XP2 and HP5 films have lasted and how good there scans come out!

      Thanks again

      Nigel 🙂

      April 6, 2013 at 11:03 am

    • Thanks Paul, 🙂

      Yes after sometime forgetting all about film I think I may be coming back to thinking so!

      April 9, 2013 at 12:22 pm

  6. Pingback: Liverpool | Nigel borrington

  7. victoriaaphotography

    Love that last image.
    I can only imagine the lively old Irish Pubs with their wonderful atmosphere. They work well in B & W.

    April 9, 2013 at 11:27 am

    • 🙂 Many thanks Victoria and they have and they do!

      They are great places to get some lovely images and the odd pint!


      April 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

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