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Easy does it for Flax

December 5th, 2016 | by LCN Editor
Easy does it for Flax
Venue Spotlight

There’s been a hostelry of one shade or another near the crossroads at Ballyward in rural County Down for generations – and always with the Turley family name above its door.

 Formerly the location of a 19th century flax mill, the current Turley’s bar is a relatively new arrival on the Moneyslane Road. Its predecessor was entirely demolished around a decade ago and the new venue was built in its place.

And this November, the Turleys celebrated another milestone – the first anniversary of Flax, a bijou little bistro which they established on the first floor mezzanine level of the bar late in 2015.

It’s part and parcel of the development of a venue that has taken its place among a varied portfolio of businesses that the Turley family owns. The bar itself, which sits on the main road between Rathfriland and Dromara, is warm and welcoming place, thanks in large part to its cosy wood burner.

The bar element of the venue is in the capable hands of Michael Turley and bar manager, Geraldine O’Hare

Frank Lennon, the former, long-standing head chef of the Belmont Hotel in Banbridge and his wife, Sinead, have taken charge of the development of Flax since they arrived at the venue in November last year.

Frank (48), who comes originally from Loughbrickland, spent more than 30 years at the Belmont. Sinead, who previously worked for Royal and Sun Alliance as an underwriter, looks after front-of-house duties at Flax and assists Frank throughout the business.


Bar manager, Geraldine O’Hare is pictured with head chef, Frank Lennon.

Frank had been friendly with the Turley family for some time and when the opportunity to run Flax came up late last year, he and Sinead were the obvious choice.

Flax occupies a cosy first-floor mezzanine level at Turley’s. The restaurant proper can accommodate 45 covers at capacity with room for an overflow of around 30 additional diners in the pub down below.

“The Turley family have been very good and given us a free hand to run Flax as our own business,” said Frank. “We’re quite happy with the way things have gone for us so far.

“In terms of the food offering, we do a wide range of steak, chicken and fish dishes, it’s fresh, locally-sourced food and generous portions with daily specials always available.

“Business has been very encouraging in our first year and like many places, Saturday and Sunday are very busy days every week.

“The restaurant is in a remote location, that’s true”, added Frank, “but it has stunning views of the Mourne mountains through its unique window which takes up one whole wall of the building…People often ask for a table next to the big window when they are booking as they find the panoramic views delightful.

“As for the future, we’re aiming to keep our service and our offering as consistent as we can through Christmas and then continue to build the initial momentum into the new year,” said Frank. “I’m very confident that the restaurant and the bar can do well in 2017.”


Michael Turley



One Comment

  1. Eileen says:

    I have been telling friends about this wonderful view – all to accompany the fabulous food at ‘Flax at Turley’s’

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