When it comes to classic pubs in the Connemara area Veldons Bar has a certain notoriety. If you drive through Letterfrack its collection of memorabilia, bright vintage signs and seating catch the eye. This can often lead to an unscheduled stop, often excused by the need for “a bit of shopping”.
This bar was taken over by Peter Veldon on Good Friday 1973. Peter and his wife Margaret were very experienced in hospitality and used to run the Zetland Hotel.
Peter was a great character and had a very generous personality along with a great love of the community.
At that time there was a shop that sold almost everything alongside the Bar and you could buy a bit of hardware or paint too!
When the Industrial school in the village became a regional development centre the food offerings expanded from the normal pub offerings of soup and sandwiches to include hearty lunches in response to demand from those working there. This soon put Veldons on the map for its food and soon evening meals joined the offering of lunch.
From the start the ingredients have always been sourced locally, local lamb, fish, beef and seafood is always on the menu. The bar is popular with local fishermen and supplies of fresh fish often come straight from them. Oysters and Mussels are also available within a stone’s throw of the bar so you cannot get fresher. The new management have taken up where Peter and Margaret left off, and the food is well worth sampling.
The best part of a visit to Veldons however is its atmosphere, it is a truly local pub and the hub of the village social network.
I suppose what can define the atmosphere of Veldons Bar in Letterfrack is the classic Hynes postcard featuring two children loading turf onto a donkey that hangs on the wall. The boy who was known as Red Pat was a regular customer in Veldons all his adult life. Most evenings would see him sat in the corner of the bar with a pint of Guinness sat on the counter in front of him. He would make an observation here and there in the conversation, or draw a laugh with his dry wit. Pat passed away a number of years ago, and his obituary was in the Irish Times detailing his life and history as part of the community in the little village of Letterfrack.
Yet everyone that knew him still checks out his corner when they enter the bar expecting to see him there. It is that sort of a place.