Blarney Island

August 26th, 2011 · No Comments

So, we took the boat over from Port of Blarney to Blarney Island. Let me be clear when I say that this is not a bar ON and island, but the bar IS the island. It’s location is a mile off-shore in Green Lake, nearby Antioch, IL, inspiring their slogan “A Mile Away From Reality.”

The story is that in the early 1900s Blarney Island was a houseboat on the Fox River. Jack O’Connor owned this houseboat and across the way he had some big competition from Shorty Shobin’s place, known as Shorty’s. Well, one night in a poker game they each bet their businesses and Shorty lost. Over the years Blarney Island has grown immensely and changed hands many times. IN 1939, a dam was put up in McHenry, which flooded the riverbanks. The dam created what is now Grass Lake and also cut Blarney Island off from dry land access, making it an official island.

Ok. Enough of the history lesson. If you want to read more, go here.


When we arrived we all got out of the boat and kind of looked around, wandered around. Dallas bee-lined for the food ordering window, which was the best thing we could have done. (Aside from my bee-line for the bathroom.)

We sat inside at the lower bar for a while and ate and had a beer. Someone (not me) took these photos of our scantily-clad waitresses down there.

Really gross, though. I looked up and saw all this underwear hanging from the ceiling! Ugh! Time to go outside!

Outside it was a gorgeous day. There was a band playing cover songs. Pretty fun. Actually, when they went on a break they were just playing songs on the speakers and I danced with Brian to All the Single Ladies and possibly more songs. When the band came back, I was on the stage talking to them about what to play. I requested Miley Cyrus (inside joke) but they said no.

Front: Rachelle & Christine Back: Dallas, Sara, Todd, Kelly

The deck outside was really nice. It was great to be in the sun, as this summer comes to a close. There were outside bars, outside band, outside dance floor, outside tables and chairs. This is not a place to go in bad weather.

Here’s the outside bar. Blarney Island claims to be “The Key West of the Midwest” and not only that, also “The Greatest Boating Bar in the World.” Key West because it’s decorated with “palm trees, boats, babes, bikinis, booze and more“. The greatest boating bar because it’s an island you can drive your boat right up to.

Mike & Sara

I honestly do not know how long we sat outside drinking beer and listening to the band. Here’s Mikey with my sunglasses on. My busted sunglasses. Adam and I were spinning in circles.. more like he grabbed my arm and spun me… and my sunglasses went flying off and the lenses popped out. No biggie, though. I only get cheapo sunglasses for this reason!

Maybe Blarney Island should also claim to be the best helicopter bar. At one point a helicopter landed there and some guys got out to hang out at the bar. Crazy. I ran over to see what was going on and some bouncer/security stopped me before I could get too close. I think he said one of the owners has a helicopter? I’m not sure now.

Saw this funny sign in the bathroom.

Kelly, Sara, Rachelle

At some point (I have no idea what time it was) we had to go to meet the van we hired to pick us up (no cabs out here). Here we are waiting for the boat to arrive to take us back to the Port of Blarney.

Christine & Adam

Adam & Christine waiting for the boat.


Dallas being an idiot on the boat…..

Sara & Brian

… while Sara and Brian enjoy a romantic boat ride.

Brian, Todd, Dallas

At that point we probably should have just gone home, but NO. We ended up going to some townie bars in Antioch. First was The Tavern Depot. If I remember correctly, this was in a strip mall kind of area. And it was empty. Like just us and the band. The bartender was sweet though, and we filled up on free popcorn and some pizza while playing pool.


Next we walked over to Limerick Lounge, which was really packed. It was a party going on in there!

Todd, Mike, Brian

At some point some of our group left and went to Rugans, which was where we finally met up. There was a guy here playing the guitar and singing. I asked him to play Miley Cyrus and he said NO. I was getting so tired by now. As you can see above, everyone was pretty much DONE! Time to go home.

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