Hughes’ Pub, Woodquay

Sixty years ago yesterday, on June 26 1969, Michael Hughes opened his pub in Woodquay. Our photograph (which was taken in 1953 ) shows what it looked like before Michael took it over. It was known as Molly Greaney’s and that is the lady herself on the right. Next to her is her brother Tommy who worked as a rep for Dwyers of Cork. The next two men with caps are Brendan Noonan and his brother, and their father is the man with the hat. They were carpenters. The man in the foreground is Tommy O’Brien who worked with an oil company. We do not know who the two men in caps on the left were.

There were no dispensers in those days, they poured the Guinness out of the barrel and into a jug, they would have a jug for ‘high’ and a separate one for settled stout and you had to mix the two carefully. Obviously Molly Greaney did this successfully because all the men in our picture are drinking Guinness. Notice the soda siphons on the counter and also those on the shelves behind. They are definitely a thing of the past in pubs today.

Everything looks neat and tidy in the photograph. As it does in Michael Hughes’ pub now, which still has the reputation of serving up one of the best pints in town, oarsmen would tell you it was their favourite pint after coming off the river.

Michael Hughes (known to many as Mickey ) was a Prospect Hill man who worked in the ESB for 18 years. He married Peggy Ellwood, they lived in Hidden Valley and raised eight children. He originally rented the bar from the Farragher family who also owned Ely House across the street, but within a few years he bought them out. He used to describe his bar as “A working man’s pub” and he always made sure his male customers respected their lady friends. There was always a good code of conduct in the bar.

He was a great sportsman who loved most sports, but having played for Liam Mellows and later becoming the president of that club, hurling was his passion. He was also deeply involved with Galway Rowing Club and was one of the volunteers who actually helped to build the clubhouse, which was then known as ‘The Blackening Box’.

Michael Hughes died some years ago but his spirit lives on in the bar which is now run by the next generation of the Hughes family.

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