This fine pub has been in the same family since 1st November 1897 when it was leased by William Armshaw for £3 a year.
Little is known about William, except that it is said he was descended from a north of England family, with the first Armshaw, believed to have been a medical school dropout, arriving in Ireland in the 1640's.
Apparently, the 50-year leasehold was a sublet, with the Armshaw holding being part of a much larger estate that had been leased in 1872 by William's landlord, Denis Ryan, for "the perpetual rent of one hundred and thirty six pounds and ten shillings, late currency, and three couple of fat hens".
In those days, Cappawhite was noted for its fair days which were often accompanied by organised faction fights, where teams of men would lay into one another with cudgels and sticks - sometimes because of a genuine argument, sometimes for sport. Indeed, the phrase still survives: "A fair in Cappawhite is no place for a man with a thin skull".
As well as being a licensee, William made shoes and boots, as cobbling was a family trade that was continued by his son, who was also named William Armshaw. The second William Armshaw became licensee when his father died, in his late seventies, in 1930. Five years earlier, the Armshaws had terminated their 50-year lease early, by buying their holding outright for the sum of £42in 1920.
As well as shoe making, the second William Armshaw was also a seller of radios. He never married and, following his death in 1966, the pub passed to his sister Kathleen. She also never married and following her death in 1976, the pub passed to her next of kin, James Armshaw, a first cousin.
Apparently, by this stage there was only one branch of the Armshaw clan left in Ireland, all the rest having either died out or emigrated. Indeed, James was the only member of his branch of the family to marry and have children: four sons and seven daughters. Like many in the family, James was a shoemaker by profession, but he had no interest in running the pub. As a result, he immediately sold the business to one of his sons, who by happy coincidence is also called "William Armshaw", though he uses Liam, the Irish version of the first name.
Once installed as licensee, Liam renovated the pub, but maintained its original character sufficiently to win a regional award for best traditional shop front in the Tidy Towns competition. Inside the pub, one of his biggest innovations was the introduction of draught beer.
Liam is also a founder of the Cappawhite Street Theatre Group, which re-enacts faction fights, including on one occasion staging a re-enactment of a fight on the streets of New York. Today, Armshaw's is one of four pubs in Cappawhite. When Liam because licensee in 1976 there were 10 licensed premises in the village and once there were 27 in total.
Armshaws is a Traditional Irish Pub, Family run, with a friendly cheerful athmosphere,
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ARMSHAWS BAR,Cappawhite,Cappawhite, Ireland