My brother Tommy and I came home on holidays from America in 1975. Our sister Brid and Helen Brown were running a restaurant next door to the pub and it was closed at the time, and Brid suggested that Tommy and I should buy it! We talked about it to our father and he said he would sell some sites in Kilmaley in order to come up with the deposit. We went to the bank then and got everything sorted. The pub was owned by the Lafferty family originally, but it had been run by different people for a few years, before closing down for a couple of years before we bought it.
The early days of McGann’s Pub
Business was very slow for a while at the beginning, but then the Lisdoonvarna Folk Festival was announced and it was a life saver. Tommy went back to the US and Theresa and I took it on. It took a while to make a few bob. We could not get people out of Fisherstreet, where O’Connor’s was doing very well at the time. But we gradually built up a clientele, we had a campsite out the back and started doing food which was a big step. There was a place for us as we got a younger crowd coming in! Visitors also started coming from the US, where Tommy was telling everyone to call in and see us and it went from there.
Doolin: a special Place
Doolin has changed a lot since the 1970s, but it is still a very special place. The Cliffs of Moher are a great draw to the area of course, and the boats to the Aran Islands bring a lot of people to Doolin in the summer months. There are now two hotels in the village and a lot of events and weddings also take place during the quiet months, which keep us all going here in Doolin. So the future looks very positive for us our small village in the West of Ireland, as the young people from the area can stay and work here, giving them the opportunity to build their lives where they grew up. Long may it last!
McGann’s Pub is now run by Sheila and Dermot, who are doing a great job and working very hard. They are also helped by the younger generation, which is great to see as the pub has been run by the McGann family for over 40 years now.
Best of luck to Sheila and Dermot and may all visitors have a wonderful time at McGann’s Pub and in Doolin, you won’t find a better place! It always intrigued me how people came here though. A fellow once asked “why do so many people come to Doolin?”, and the reply he got was: “If the devil broke out of hell he would surely end up here”.