Spot the difference - Shane Lowry and Ger Hough pictured at the new mural painted on the wall of JJ Hough’s Singing Pub in Banagher.

Warm welcome and new mural for Shane in Banagher

Most people would be very lucky to have one mural painted in their honour, but for Shane Lowry it was a case of ‘second time lucky’ when he dropped into Banagher’s famous singing pub, JJ Hough’s, over the weekend to take a look at a second mural of himself!

There was much good-humoured banter between the affable professional golfer from Clara with proprietor, Ger Hough, when the pair finally got together to discuss the mural which was repainted in the pub after the first one had to be “kango hammered out” during the pandemic to make way for a new outdoor beer garden.

Apart from being known as a famous pub for the ceoil and the craic, JJ Hough’s has also gained an international reputation for their extremely witty social media posts, and Ger Hough once again took to social media on July 27 last to let his huge army of followers know that a second mural of Offaly’s most famous son with the Claret jug had been completed.

He jokingly admitted that there was “a bit of tension” between him and Shane after the first mural had to be “kango hammered out’ during the pandemic to make way for an outdoor beer garden, and he threw down the gauntlet to the 2019 Major winner by saying he was expecting him down “for the grand opening.” The hilarious video, which was posted by Ger Hough on the pub’s Facebook page, opens with him brushing down the mural and admiring the whiteness of Shane Lowry’s teeth before introducing the “all new mural” and admitting that “all is forgiven” now that the new mural is in situ.

Two days later, the hugely popular Clara man strolled into the Banagher pub to inspect the mural, and what was his reaction? “Well, a lot of people said the mural looked a bit like me, and I think Shane could see the resemblance too,” joked Ger Hough. “We had a good laugh, it was a bit of banter and it was also a great way to honour his huge achievement in winning the Open.”

The mural was painted by Alejandra Harrison from Canada, whose sister, Daniela, is married to Martin Grogan from Cloghan. “Martin is a good friend of mine so when his sister-in-law came over on a visit to Ireland during the summer and I heard she was an artist I asked her if she would paint a mural of Shane for us, as my mother was busy with other projects, so she agreed and she did a great job.”

Many wonderful portraits of customers have adorned the walls of JJ Hough’s pub down through the years, thanks to the artistic talents of Ger’s mother, Sheila, who was born in Kenya and studied art in Paris before lecturing in the graphic design department of Athlone IT for many years. “My mother did the original mural of Shane in 2019, but she was busy with other projects this year so that’s why we asked Alejandra to step in,” says Ger.

Shortly after his enjoyable trip to JJ Hough’s pub last week, Shane Lowry was faced with a worrying dilemma when his beloved golf clubs went missing on a United Airlines flight from Dublin Airport to Chicago.

Proving that his sense of humour could rival that of his ‘doppleganger’ Ger Hough any day, Shane posted a humorous sketch from Fr Ted on his Twitter account in which Fr Ted berates Dougal for having lost Fr Jack to which Dougal responds: “As I said the last time Ted, it won’t happen again.”

Like the two-time mural in Banagher, the story of the lost golf clubs also had a happy ending when the hugely-popular Clara golfer was reunited with his clubs on Wednesday, just in time for his opening round at the final PGA Tour event, the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield County Club in Greenboro, North Carolina, where he teed off yesterday morning (Thursday).