The Unyoke Country Kitchen
R741, Ballyhought, County Wexford, Ireland
The Unyoke Country Kitchen is a Coffee Shop, Bar, and Restuarant. The premises itself is there since pre-1798 and it has been done up keeping all of its original features.
The history of the Unyoke Country Kitchen is as follows:
The Real Unyoke has been in the Murphy Family for five generations and was founded by Charles Murphy after he had been evicted from Ballyorley, near Boolavogue, following the 1798 rebellion. History records that it was Charles who unhorsed Lieutenant Bookey at the opening skirmish at The Harrow. Ironically, given that Charles would later become a publican, Bookey was the worst for drink when he charged alone into a crowd of insurgents. Charles unseated him with one blow of his pike handle and when Bookey fell to the ground, he was despatched by others among the rebels, at a spot known today as “Bookey’s Stream”.
The Murphys were lucky to excape with only an eviction. Many, who were suspected of rebel sympathies, were summarily executed in the brutal military suppression that followed the 1798 rising. Homeless, on the road between Oulart and Wexford, the family found a deserted cottage and took shelter there. The local landlord, a man named Adams, not only agreed to let the property, but also allowed Charles to run a public house there.
Situated at the end of a long climb on a main road, the premises became known as “The Unyoke”, because it was there that farmers and carters unyoked their wagons to “rest and bait” themselves and their horses – “bait” being a local word for “to feed”.
As well as carrying traffic from Oulart to Wexford, R741was a main route for transporting grain to Castlebridge. The pub was also benefited from being located close to a lime kiln – an important source of fertiliser.
The pub run by Charles and his son Bryan was tiny. Its main business came from the kitchen , but it also comprised a parlour and a bar, which accommodated fewer than 6 people at a time. However, business was steady by day and by night. According to the Murphys, The Unyoke once had a 23 –hour licence – one of only two in the country – but it was lost in the 19th Century in a fire at Wexford County Hall and the family could only replace it with an ordinary seven day licence.
When Bryan died, aged 99, in 1908, a newspaper wrote “No man was better known or more highly respected throughout a great proportion of North Wexford than the deceased, Mr Bryan Murphy”.
The business then passed father-to-son to John Murphy and then father-to-son to Charlie Murphy. The pub was then passed on to Charle’s nephew, the current licensee Bernard Murphy, a great- great-great- grandson of the 1798 rebel. It was Charlie who added the word “real” to the pub’s title, after a night club also calling itself “The Unyoke” opened locally. The nightclub burnt down, but the Real Unyoke is still open for a drink and a bait to eat.
The pub has been significantly expanded and the parlour with the thatched roof also remains in place.
Monday to Friday – 9.30 to 3.30
Saturday and Sunday – 10.30 – 3.30
These times vary seasonally.