A sixty year old publican has become a social media sensation after posting a video of him singing a reworking of the country music classic, ‘The Pub With No Beer’, has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook.
Geoffrey Cooney, who runs Tiernan’s bar in the rural County Meath townland of Wilkinstown is the star of the clip which runs for 2m 15secs and he has called the new version, This Covid Year.
The original song was first recorded by Australian country singer, Slim Dusty, back in 1957 and was written about his local pub in Taylors Arm, New South Wales.
It has an Irish connection as well, as Dusty adapted it from the original poem “A Pub Without Beer” by Irish poet Dan Sheahan who lived in Ingham, North Queensland.
Cooney’s version was cobbled together with his wife Bonnie as the couple struggled to come to terms with the ongoing closure of the pub which has been in his family for generations.
He revealed, ‘ We could have called it the pub with no customers but that wouldn’t rhyme!
‘Slims Dusty’s version is a party piece of mine, I’ve been known to belt it out at closing time to try and empty the place.
‘Myself and Bonnie sat down one Saturday about a month back and put it together in around two hours, and basically posted it on Facebook to remind our customers that we are still alive and kicking.’
The video shows Cooney in a variety of roles, he plays a disappointed workman looking forward to a pint only to discover a ‘Closed’ sign on the pub door, he is seen playing a game of draughts against himself as he has nobody to oppose him, and poignantly, seen ringing a bell to signify closing time.
And he admits that the enforced Covid closure has taken it’s toll both mentally and financially.
He revealed, ‘I have to keep reminding myself it is not my fault we are closed, and in fairness the financial support from the government has been a huge help.
‘Bonnie is retired from teaching so she has an income from that but the pub is my only source of income and the reality is that without the government package we would be destitute and the business would be unlikely to survive.
‘I know there are a number of people out there who are sceptical about the whole Covid thing and are anti maskers, and all that, but personally I’d prefer to run with the scientists and listen to what they have to say.
‘I’d be inclined to follow the guidelines and keep the doors shut and do whatever it takes to keep people safe.
‘You would miss the craic, it was Cheltenham week this week and that was always a busy time, you certainly miss the atmosphere, it’s cold and quiet around the place and that’s never a great feeling.
‘People have been contacting us since the video went up and I am delighted to be able to give people a laugh, even if it is at my attempt at singing.
‘I’m going to have to think of a follow up now, and by the looks of it this lockdown will leave me with plenty of time to come up with it.’