By Zara Hill
Local publican Marina Downey bought the bar – formerly known as The Coachman – in 2000, at a time when the building was owned by Max and Peggy Wong and run by Jimmy The Hat. This September she looks forward to celebrating 15 years in business.
Marina, who formerly worked with An POST, has made many changes to the building and its purpose over the years and is really looking forward to the milestone in September saying; ‘’who’d have believed it.’’ Her most recent innovation – the creation of a comfortable lounge/restaurant area has added a new look to the venue and through hard work, she has built up a thriving food business. Downey’s offers the ‘’legendary Downey’s Breakfast” as described by Marina herself - from 9am each day.
The much loved restaurant also provides a daily lunch menu – with sandwiches, homemade soups, wraps, Paninis and low calorie options to choose from. According to Marina, ‘’Downey’s is famous for hosting a good party. We cater for all Parties from Christenings to First Communions, Confirmations, 18th’s, 21st’s etc. Our private function room - separate to the rest of the pub – is also available to book for private parties.’’ Due to financial pressures of the past few years Marina has noticed ‘’a steady decline in people’s spending power’’. She also recognises that nowadays families prefer to cater for some of their functions at home. Seeing this pattern, Marina has now diversified her business to include home catering packages in order to meet these preferences.
‘’2015 has been particularly busy for this part of our business’’, remarked Marina who has proven that no job is too much. ‘’We provide a full service which includes banqueting tables, crockery, cutlery and bain-maries. One of our biggest events was to cater for a wedding in Cloghan Castle just outside of Gort. We provided a Wedding Banquet for 115 people with full bar services and a Barbecue for the day after.’’
At present Marina employs 11 people, all from the locality. She has had many students work with her during their School and College years and they have passed on to other jobs some as far away as Abu Dhabi, while others have built up their own very successful businesses locally but all have been part of the Downey’s Bar Family down through the years. Of all the members of her trusty team she acknowledges the late Tommy McDonnell who gave Downey’s many years of loyal service.
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