basil sheils


Basil Sheils

Established in the late 1880’s Basil Sheils was one of the last bottle houses (no draft beer) in the North of Ireland. Over recent years it has evolved immensely from the small Traditional Irish Bar to something quite special.

Today Basil Sheils consists of a small Traditional Irish Bar and spacious Lounge, The Forge Restaurant and Bed & Breakfast and Self Catering Accommodation. We are beautifully situated along the Callen River in the heart of Tassagh 5 miles from Armagh and 2 miles from Keady. A well-known hostelry, it has been an integral part of the social life of Tassagh and has been a meeting place for family and friends in the surrounding areas. With colourful locals, some of whom have been drinking in the bar for over 60 years. It is a must to soak up the atmosphere and listen to the regular stories of today and days gone by, in front of an open fire in the winter or enjoy the sunshine in our beautiful beer garden over-looking the Callen River surrounded by mature trees.

The first record of a licenced premises in Tassagh is in the late 1870’s – early 1880’s which consisted of a bar, shop and out houses, where meal corn and other goods were sold. It was owned by a Clergy man by the name of David McClelland, who in turn leased it to James Clarke, a native from Cavan who ran the pub until 1910, when it was bought over by Mick Sheils of Belfast where it remained in the ownership of the Sheils family for almost a century, run first by Mick Sheils and lastly by Terry.

The present owner has retained much of its unique character and timeless charm. He developed the living accommodation to provide self-catering and bed and breakfast facilities for both individuals and families visiting the area.

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We have more to offer to a younger clientele as we cater for every occasion making Basil Sheils the perfect party venue.

  • Nathan Carter headlined our 2013 ‘Down In The Valley’ Country Music Festival.
  • Performances from The Nooks, The Tiny Lions, The Fuzzy Burgers, Johnny Brooks, All Folked Up, The Do Rightly’s, Black Diamond, The Davis Brothers, Juse 2, No Control.
  • The Skip Car Tour raising awareness and funds for Marie Currie Cancer Care.
  • The Charm of Tea – Afternoon Tea hosted monthly and hugely popular.
  • Our Annual Charity Week end raising money for local charities, comprising of Music, Tractor Drives, Lorry Pulls, Family Fun Days, Duck Race on the River Callan, Barbeque, Pony Drives and much more.
  • Weddings, Birthdays, Christenings, First Holy Communion, Funerals, Family get-togethers.
  • The Rose of Tralee Co Armagh – our very own Lisa Mone represented Basil Sheils & Co Armagh in The Rose of Tralee in 2009.
  • Bol Chumann Na hEireann comes to Tassagh and Basil Sheils every Easter were Armagh & Cork come together to enjoy the Bol Fada.
  • Santa Claus calls in to see the children every year and to check they have been good.


About 2 miles to the north of Keady in South Armagh, lies the richly historic and ancient district of Tassagh. It lies in a lovely valley through which flows the River Callan which begins to take shape at Tassagh district with the junction of the Clay River. In many published books the ‘Three ringed forts’ have been said to be located in and around Tassagh but so far only two have been discovered. ‘Devlins Fort’ which stands on the Keady side of the river running through Yughan’s Glen and ‘Gordon’s Fort’ which stands on the Granemore side of the river. Both are very good examples of very celtic fortified dwellings which have survived land improvement schemes and many other changes down to our own day.

Another site worth studying in this area is the ‘Tassagh Viaduct’ an engineering feature of no mean dimension, and there is a wall or two left standing of what was once an old Paper Mill, by the ricer side near Girvan’s Bridge. This Viaduct is now a listed building.

To add to this rich history, Basil Sheils brings its own little piece of history. This is one of the last, if not the last bottle house in North of Ireland. This means there is no draft beer served in our Bar. In the early 1900’s a small barn adjacent to the bar was know as ‘The Black Bucket’. Outside closing hours a small group of locals would go across to the barn and wait for the owner to come with his black bucket to “feed the pigs” when in actual fact it was full of bottled beer. This small barn is still referred to as the Black Bucket to this day.




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