By Dan Walsh
The closure of the village pub in the manner enforced by Covid-19 restrictions is unprecedented since the introduction of licensing laws in the final decades of the 19th century. Perhaps, the wording on the new Sammy Sinnott memorial seat in Duncormick sums up the emergency measures in simple terms that can be taken as read; “Ah be God, that’s the way life goes.”
John ‘Sammy’ Sinnott was a legendary Duncormick publican, who passed away at the age of 90 last January, He was ‘old school’, a man of unique character and a gentlemanly figure whose reputation extended far beyond his intimate thatched pub in the centre of the village where drama, creativity, folklore and a rich tapestry of stories were a nightly performance.
Soon after Sammy’s heavenly departure, the Duncormick Area Action Group intended to honour and recognise his popularity and contribution to the community on his 91st birthday – July 2nd – but the coronavirus halted the project.
Thankfully, the project – a concrete seat to the memory of Sammy Sinnott – located directly opposite his renowned thatched pub – has been recently unveiled and is gaining admiration from local and visitor alike.
Sammy ran the family business, which was founded originally by his great grandmother who ‘left a pub in Cullenstown in 1795’ and came to start ‘Sinnott’s of Duncormick’.
In 2003, Sammy told the local newspaper; ‘My family have been here 208 years. When you’re around a place that long, there’s not a lot about the place that you don’t know.” He continued; “When my great grandmother came here, she only had a small place. A little huxter shop. Sure, we never got much bigger, we kept it small. People like you a lot better if you don’t get too big.”
Sammy was the only son of the late James Sinnott, while his mother Frances (née Berry) was a member of well-known equestrian Berry clan.
In Duncormick they speak of their beloved Sammy Sinnott with the pride of a local celebrity whose presence will be everlasting. “We hope that this seat will stand as a lasting memorial to a man who was a very big part of the village for 90 years,” echoed the locals with a united voice.