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To kick off our Pub of the month blog, we have selected J O’Connell, South Richmond Street! You might have passed it lots of times and not popped in dismissing it as an ‘Old Mans Pub’ and yes, it is… sort of… but walk through those doors and you won’t be disappointed! It has all the old charm that you would expect but there won’t be a hush and an awkward look at you when you walk in the door. Far from it!
Chatting with the owner Kieran and the ’youngest’ Gerry, we find out that this has been a family-owned licensed building since the early 1830’s. Kieran is an ‘O’Byrne’ himself, and his father Ned took over the bar in the 1971. The bar has since been passed down to the three brothers, Eddie, Tommy and Kieran, while Jeremiah O’Connell’s gilded name has been over the bar since 1933.
Previous owners included Walter Furlong who traded there as a ‘spirit dealer’ until 1887 when William V Mulhall who preferred the term ‘wine merchant’ took the reins. 1914 was the year William Ryan Condon started running the pub, until 1933 when Jeremiah O’Connell, an “interesting” character (he once burnt a bed and had a priest re-purify the entire building with holy water after catching the manager in bed with a lady), took over the pub and ran a very austere establishment for years. While that vibe is thankfully out the window, the exterior is a heritage listed building so every detail must be kept exactly as is – Google a picture of the pub from any decade since the thirties and you will find it exactly the same!
The interior inside is spot on too with an old-school quirky charm about it, beautiful portraits, paintings and photos adorn the walls and what I would describe as ‘brave’ patterned seats and a contrasting green and red overall decor. The contrast of colours matches the contrast of people and it really works! You will find anyone from an auld fella flicking through the paper at the bar to a group of young-wans in the corner ‘instagraming’ their own pints. The conversation really hums around you which is partly down to people happily sinking pints but maybe to do with the no tele policy (except for a very important Irish match – they are not animals!). Anyone that strolls up to the bar will get the same service as everyone else in the best possible way and it is the kind of place where EVERYONE fits!
We ask why they have gotten into craft lately. Kieran puts it down to the younger staff and the way their 25 – 35 year old clientele drink now. They are more experimental and these three lads at J O’Connells are definitely not stuck in there ways. They tested out the scene with bottles of craft beer to start and quickly realised customers also want to drink quality PINTS of craft beer so they decided to serve our Rascals Yankee White IPA, Big Hop Red and Happy Days on draught. We are proud these are selling really well.
Another big factor for the craft beer they chose is that it has to be LOCAL or IRISH. He stresses that this is a very important to them when choosing a lot of their drinks and then proudly shows us their collection of 60 (SIX and ZERO!!!) Irish Whiskeys as well as over 10 Irish Gins. The collection makes for a really beautiful backdrop to the bar along with some very odd ‘Face’ mugs, a beautiful ticking clock and other bits and bobs.
It is great to have this bar in a fairly ‘cosmopolitan’ Dublin area really holding on to it’s own true values but at the same time progressive in its thinking! Well done J O’Connell’s crew, thanks for taking on local craft beers and for making so many people feel at home!
Be sure to pop in and tell them we sent ya!
FRIDAY 24TH WE ARE HOLDING OUR SPINNING WHEEL NIGHT IN J O’ CONNELL’S WITH LOTS OF GIVEAWAYS AND CRAIC SO POP BY AND CHECK THE PLACE OUT.