September 21, 2023

Kilkenny man walks 130 miles for a pint!

A Kilkenny man became a hit of social media after he trekked 130 miles across the border into Northern Ireland for a pint of the black stuff.

Luke O’Connor’s cross-border hiking heroics have seen the Kilkenny man trending on social media. And he proved to be a big hit with locals in Crossmaglen and Armagh city, where he was soon welcomed into a session in Rafferty’s Bar on Thomas Street,

Luke said on social media: “This is my type of bar and my type of people.”

The 25-year-old, whose family work in the bar trade, undertook the gruelling 130-mile hike to highlight the reopening of the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland.

He told the Armagh I online news site: “The underlying thing is, there is so much hate at the restrictions in Ireland and length of the lockdown. They are going to vote to extend the government’s emergency powers on June 9.

“They protest everywhere else but not here in Ireland. I come from a family of publicans. I mean, that is 40-grand going down the drain every month for them.”

After his exhausting walk to Armagh, Luke was happy to at last enjoy the comfort of a pint or two in company of locals, and a local hurling team who had just played a final. And he turned out to be a big hit with the pub’s regulars

Publican Bernie Rafferty said: “We had a great night’s craic. He’s a barman himself and a nice fella. He stayed here for four or five hours and was talking to everyone and got photographs taken. He enjoyed it and he was a good laugh.

“Luke said he wanted to see the city because he hadn’t been in the north before. He was walking around looking for a pub and he spotted mine. He got himself booked in to Armagh City Hotel for the night and some of the hurlers walked him over at the end of the night.

“He walked here from Crossmaglen. He had blisters on his feet, the poor lad, but he never complained or anything.”

Bernie added: “His family owns a few bars and he’s used to talking to people. I got on with him like a house on fire. I could have talked to him all evening.

“The walk was a fun thing but there was a serious side to it too for him. It was more or less a protest walk that the north’s hospitality was opening up and they can’t do anything in the south.”


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