This happy group of people were photographed in Doherty’s Pub in Bohermore in the 1960s. Those in the back row are, left to right: Kevin Molloy, Luke Doherty, Mrs Doherty, Jim Tierney, and Tom Turley. Second row: Kevin Doherty also known as ‘Doc’, John “Texas” McDonald, Tom Redmond, Joe McGuire, Frank Reilly, Frankie Reilly junior, Tommy Cahill, and Jimmy Nally. In front are Frank Cassidy, Water Lane (with the pint glass ), Joe Fagan with the darts, and Jimmy Connolly.
Like many pubs in Galway at the time, Doherty’s had a grocery business as well. This combination of a pub and grocery started in Ireland in the 19th century. You usually went through the grocery to get to the bar. You would not find tourists in this pub, it was unpretentious except for a piano in the corner. They played a lot of darts there, you can see the board for chalking far left. Just a few doors away was Fitzgerald’s Pub which was later known as The Traveller’s Rest. They had a great pub soccer team. The name over the door in more recent times was Hostys.
Further down the street was a pub which Jim Tonery took over in June 1959. It was formerly owned by Johnny and Kate Martyn. They used to whitewash the inside walls to keep the place clean but also disinfected. They stored the barrels against the back wall and sometimes used them as seating with small planks over them. When Jim Tonery ran out of drink on the night he opened there, he knew he had made the right decision. Like most such establishments, they would have had a room at the back where they washed and cleaned glasses, washed out used Guinness bottles which were then filled with stout, and labelled them with their own pub labels. All pubs would have had a corking machine to top the bottles, and they fixed a couple of elaborate corkscrews to the top of the public bar. The Guinness was delivered in barrels by horse and dray driven by CIE personnel. The bar has been renovated a few times since and houses a collection of photographs of local GAA teams.
Across the street from Doherty’s was Crowe’s pub. It was founded in 1901 by William and Ellen Crowe and also had a grocery area. It passed from them to their son Michael John, and when he died, his son Gus took over. In 1981, the premises were renovated to include indoor toilets and a major expansion. There were two further renovations and extensions in the 1990s. It is a great rugby house.
A few doors from Crowe’s was Hogan’s pub, another ‘local’ with no frills, run by Paddy Hogan and his wife. They also had a grocery as part of the business. When their daughter Bridie took it over, she got rid of the grocery and concentrated on the bar. It was a great darts house and featured a beautiful old fireplace.
These hostelries are among a number of old Galway pubs which this writer will be discussing in an illustrated lecture which will take place in Freeney’s Pub in High Street on Monday next, August 21, at 8pm.You might call it “An Old Galway Pub Crawl”. It is part of Heritage Week and all are welcome. Programmes for Heritage Week are available free from The Galway Civic Trust, Druid Lane.