Much-loved landlord Norbert dies
Posted on February 13, 2012
A much-loved landlord who ran The Five Bells in Eaton Bray from 1990 to 1994 and was a publican for three decades has died.
Popular Norbert Coughlan, who ran five different pubs in the area between 1974 and 2004, died aged 72 on February 6 after a lengthy illness.
Mr Coughlan's wife Una told the Luton News: "He was very popular and well respected by the community.
"He was very witty and had a dry sense of humour.
"He'd been ill for some time and people always used to joke that the favourite had come second again whenever someone we knew died."
Being a publican was obviously in the blood for Mr Coughlan, whose parents ran a pub in his home town of Castlepollard in Westmeath, Ireland.
Norbert was something of a sports star back in his home town scoring the winning goal for Westmeath Juniors in the All-Ireland Junior Cup final and excelling at the high jump.
He eventually started his career in the pub trade in Luton, after stints living in Birmingham and London, when he helped his sister run the Painters Arms in High Town in the 1960s.
Mr Coughlan took charge of his own Luton pub, The White Hart (now The Castle) in Castle Street in 1974.
He went on to run the Stags Head in Russell Street for a decade, the Five Bells in Eaton Bray, the Inkerman Arms in Inkerman Street, and finally the Butchers Arms in hastings Street with wife of 45 years Una.
Mrs Coughlan said that her husband enjoyed running all five of the pubs, but that the pair probably most enjoyed their time at the White Hart. She said: "That was a brilliant little pub.
"They used to come down from the brewery and wonder how we could work behind such a tiny bar.
"But we had a great craic there."
As well as wife Una, daughters Ann, Sue and Sarah and son Edward.
A remembrance mass takes place for Mr Coughlan at the Our lady Help of Christians RC church in Castle Street on February 26, with his funeral taking place at the same church the following day (February 27) at 12.45pm.
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