Remembering pints past with Old Dublin Pubs

Facebook Group Old Dublin Pubs is a place to share nostalgic memories of wet pubs that are long-gone. Rebecca Daly spoke to members of the group to find out what the group offers and why it is so relevant today.

Madigans Bar on Amiens Street. Photo by Lucian Petronel Potlog via Pexels.com

The 15th of March brought with it the closure of all pubs in the country as a result of concerns over the then-new virus COVID-19. 

While wet pubs in other counties were given the green light to re-open on the 21st of September, Dublin’s pubs were told to remain shut due to a rise in positive coronavirus cases. Now with the introduction of Level 5, it will be another four weeks at least before they can even consider welcoming patrons in again. 

Eager pub-goers in the capital have certainly been missing the act of heading to their local for a few rounds with their friends. 

However, one Facebook group has come together to recall times spent in their favourite pubs over the years and share retro photos of long-gone spots. 

Set up in 2014 by a group of Dubliners, Old Dublin Pubs looks to bring nostalgic memories of popular watering holes together. Some of the charming images shared there are of pubs that shut their doors before the new millennium, while others only shut their doors in March.

Regardless of if the pubs have still traded up until the pandemic, the group asks members to focus on pre-2000s images and stories. 

Throughout the hundreds of photos on their page, you’ll find familiar places such as the Brazen Head, The Liberty Belle and Toners, as well as pubs that have long since shut down or changed their name. Some of the images even go back as far as the 1900s. 

Under each photo are comments from strangers around the county. They recount memories of lively nights filled with song, dance and conversation

Some photos feature famous faces in their local pubs such as The Dubliners, Phil Lynott and even Christy Brown. 

Pub adverts are also featured on the page, which can bring a whole new level of nostalgia to the group members. One 1967 ad for The Embankment in Tallaght reads, “There you can leave behind congested city streets, park your car in the roomy car park, take a seat in the spacious Lounge, and relax over your drinks to the best of entertainment.” 

Tony Carey from Tallaght had his first pint of Guinness in the Tap Pub in Chapelizod in 1964. Four years later, he became a distillery delivery driver until 1986. Carey would deliver to pubs across the country as well as in Dublin City. He recalls that in those days, bartenders would offer free pints to their delivery drivers. 

For Carey, going to the pub was not about alcohol. It was more a social event than an opportunity to drink.

Joining the Old Dublin Pubs group allowed him and many others like him to recall the golden days in their favourite spots. 

“It’s like going down memory lane of one’s social life of the past.” He said.

The group helps people to relive the joy of heading to the pub in pre-Covid times. Carey said, “It’s important to remember the Dublin culture of socialising in different ways, and of the enjoyment of being part of that and remembering friends present and past who were part of your life.”

Old Dublin Pubs now has 5,100 members and will allow anyone with an interest in getting nostalgic over some of Dublin’s greatest pubs to join.

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