The Cat and the Bagpipes
- May 28, 2022
I was working in the Tipperary Museum of Hidden History in Clonmel in June and came this carving of a Cat and Bagpipes in their collection. The plaque was found in Cashel and it is believed to be from an alehouse in the town dating back to the 1600s. About a week ago I was working in Co. Offaly and came across an actual pub called The Cat and Bagpipes in a village called Tubber and I’m told the public house has been in there since the 1700’s. On the local Tubber GAA website there is a story of how the pub got it’s name. “Many stories have emerged about how ‘The Cat’ actually got its name. The one I was always told was that a Travelling musician was staying the night and left his bagpipes down beside him. Sometime during the night a fire broke out and the occupants were saved by the cat in the pub jumping up and down on the bagpipes. I was told this story by two people - one from Moate who told me that the Travelling musician was from Clara, and one from Clara who told me that the same musician was from Moate. Either way, Tubber could well lay claim to having accidentally invented the smoke alarm.” Needless the say the story is a fine piece of local fiction as this was a common name for alehouses in Ireland and over in England, Scotland and Wales right back to the 17th century. Great to see the one in Offaly still surviving and the plague from Tipperary is as they say “the bees knees and the cats whiskers”.