Way back in the year 1620, there was an inn that went by the name of “The Bell Inn”. This inn was located on the present-day site of the “Lych Gate” which is a covered archway to the grounds of the Drumbeg Parish Church. The Bell Inn was known as a welcoming establishment to the weary traveller who was looking to stay overnight or perhaps change horses en route to the southern areas of Ireland.
Then in 1748, there was the first mention of the “Ale Cottage” which is now the very spot that our beloved Robert Stewart’s stands today. The “Ale Cottage” was now more of a humble dwelling that sold mostly poteen (an alcohol made from potatoes) to poverty-stricken locals. Unfortunately, gin, whiskey and wines were beyond the reach of the lower class in those difficult times but the “Ale Cottage” still made sure everyone got their ‘fix’.
Fast-forwarding to the year 1818, we hear about “Bryce Stewart Publican Drumbeg” in the Parish Church graveyard records, and an Isaac Stewart in 1856 is mentioned in the old court licensing papers. Finally, in 1896, we hear of Robert Stewart and his son. His son who also went by the name of Robert, operated the premises until he died in 1966.