James McKenny, beer, wine and spirits, bottled for his wholesale business and made his own minerals with water taken from a well half a mile out the Rathfriland Road, the remains of which is still evident in 1987. James was another Horse Dealer and stood his horses beside his Pub on the Lower Square. He drove around in a Tub Trap and always kept a fast running pony, one in particular ran away almost every evening. After James returned to his yard in Mary Street, this pony could have been seen galloping out the Rathfriland Road heading for Paddy Kelly's Smithy at Burrenbridge, with a Collie dog standing on it's hind legs at the front of the Trap. The McKenny Pub and dwelling was burned down in 1920 and rebuilt into a Pub and three dwelling houses for McKenny's three sons. James died in 1928 and Pat got control of the Pub and then divided the large yard into three. Frank McKenny and the other brother Edward started Dairy Farms and sold milk round the Town and Newcastle, Pat changed from horses to dealing in cattle, having already quit the bottling end of the business. Some of James McKenny's stone beer bottles are still around the Town. Most dealers are close friends as were Pat McKenny and Barney Jennings, both always playing tricks on other people and one another. When there were youngsters about, Barney would bend down and lift little pieces of paper under which he would always find a sixpence. He had all the youngsters liffing papers all over the place. But one day the tables were turned on Barney. There was a six county bread strike about the middle 1950s with a Newry Firm, McCanns, continuing to bake
loaves only. While secretly slipping bread into the Cosy Cafe by the rear door, McCann's van, driven at that time by Hugh Fitzpatrick the present day Oil Man, blocked Mary Street and Barney Jennings's way through. After a few plausable words, Barney was the owner of two loaves which he immediately hid inside his motor van. This vehicle was sitting in the entry to Mullen's Garage in full view of two other men for longer than two minutes. The delight on Barney's face soon changed to fury when he discovered his loaves had been pinched.
That evening he told McKenny about his misfortune. Pat told him to call at his house for some bread as his wife had remarked earlier that she had too much and didn't know what to do with it. Later that night Mullen and Barney decided that McKenny was guilty but how did he do it? Not until Barney died did McKenny admit to Mullen that it was he who took the loaves, adding,that nothing on earth would have stopped him getting that one over on Barney, even though it cost him the price of a suit crawling on his belly through cow manure.
I was born a little brownish foal
Out in Drumnaquoile
I romped around the meadow field
With nought a thought of toil
But all those youthful fun and games
They got a sudden check
The farmer, he walked up one day
And roped me round the neck
That was not for me at all
So I bucked and reared with fright
That only seemed to make things worse
And boy, did that rope get tight
It wasn't long before I deemed
The only way to ease
Was to follow this old clown around
Which ever way he please
"It is the town for you", he said
"This is the big May Fair"
"And a deal, if I can make
Of your future I won't care".
So we toddled off along the road
He in front, and me behind
Of all the vicious nasty men
I ne'r thought he was that kind.
We reached the town, in the early morn
Without a bite or sip
And stood along with other nags
Till weary at the hip
Then came about an oldish guy
He looked me up and down
And the thump he hit me on the rump
It really burled me round
He moved up front and grabbed my snout
And opened wide my bake
He gawked right down my bloomin' throat
This made me squirm and shake
Much more of that, he'd have got whats what
Oh boy if I could spake
Buzz along you nosey lout, you've seen the lot of me
The ins and outs and round abouts
So let my poor head be.
My owner, he came into view
They whacked each others han'
They never even thought of me
As they hatched their evil plan
The only words I could discern
Were those, "All right I'll buy".
I'm sold, the dirty so and so
And without a single sigh
What he has done, that awful man
T'would make a boulder cry.
This new life may be full of strife
With little hope of rest
But for this stranger guy, if he's not food shy
I'll do my level best
So we'll jog along to our little farm
Where ever that may be
And I'll spend the rest of my working days
Doing chores that he asks of me.
In the corner of the Lower Square, neighbouring McKenneys was a small old-time Pub occupied about the beginning of the century by a man, McAlea. On his retirement he sold to Jack Doyle who reared his family there before moving to manage another Pub in Omeath, about the late 1930s or early 40s. Then, into the vacant premises in the Square moved the famous Peter King from around the corner. However, this was another one of Peters slow money making adventures and he soon forgot about the Pub but not before his high power salesmanship and a stranger, O'Hare standing behind the Bar. Standing alone behind a Bar wasn't a paying proposition so O'Hare moved out about 1942/43.
Who really owned that Pub at that particular time isn't clear but Sarah Shields the Draper owned it in 1943 and she rented it then to a nephew Charlie Shields from Maghermayo for ten years. Charlie worked the business for five years during the War and employed Hugh McGreevy from the Circular Road for the remaining period. This little Pub is bound to remember the next occupier "Big Cog", Jim Flannagan. Born in Annsborough and weighing about twenty stone, he must go on record as one of Castlewellan's great characters. Jim would jump onto the stage in any Dance Hall and inject an extra bit of life into the proceedings, to the delight of the people there, who never saw or heard of him before. He soon became known over most of Ireland having a quick witty word for everyone. Jim would have bought or sold anything from tractors, lorries and cars to any kind of animal. He once bought a farm in Loughinisland and remembered one of his funniest experiences. He found a horse upstairs looking out of a window in this farm house and the job he had before the horse was on the ground and kicking it's heels down the field. When asked, once, why he had changed his new car again, he remarked, "I called in a Garage to make a phone call and couldn't walk out without buying something" - one of his thousands of jocular answers. Jim Flannagan wasn't the man to pour beer into glasses,so he headed for the open air again, but died in 1978 at the age of 53 years.
The Pub was taken this time by a Belfast man Tommy Crilly who unfortunately also had a short life and died there after a short tenancy in the mid 1950s. The last Publican to run this Pub was John Murray from Hilltown and a brother of the Garage Men in the Town of Castlewellan. However, no one seemed to be able to make a living there so he sold to a Clough man, Willie McGrady, a Fishmonger, thereby sealing the fate of the little Pub and changes were fast and vast. McGrady died about 1979 and Anthony Cochrane from Ballywillwill, who had served his time with Frank Lennon, moved in with groceries, only top~ out again within a couple of years.
In 1982 this place then housed an entirely different type of business -household electricial goods. It was owned by another Belfast man, Smith, a relation of Willie Magorian the Garage man in Castlewellan, but this didn't. seem to take off either, so he closed in 1983. Shortly afterwards, a new name appeared above the door 'The Kiddies Kabin', run by Mrs John Ward, who lives next door in part of McKenney's building and stocks everything in the clothes and eauioment line for children.