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This is a bit of an abstract post, relative to our usual content – but I thought it worth writing.

It started innocently enough in the depths of COVID lockdown. Pintman №2 gets a text in one of his WhatsApp groups – a screenshot of a picture that pops up now and again of Andy Fletcher from Depeche Mode, supposedly sitting in a Dublin Pub beside a little old dear in 1983. It’s a fantastic snap! Two completely different worlds collided in silent wonder. But the picture, of course begs the question – any idea what pub? And this is where the obsession begins.

The image in question.

None of us have a clue at the outset. Most of us weren’t alive when it was taken. The first port of call is to the original post – it had been uploaded by RareIrishStuff, an antiques dealer, on Instagram. A resounding agreement in the comments from people of the era will suffice as evidence for us – but it’s not to be seen here. The bulk of the comments are people tagging their mates.

So, I resort to Facebook. I’ve seen the image there in the past. I find it on in one of these Dublin Nostalgia groups I’m in and scour the comments to find a few lone suggestions, none of which, alone, will satisfy our curiosity but might lead us in the right direction.

“Could be Lowe’s”, says someone. We check. Lowes has moved location since 1983, it having previously been located on one of The Four Corners of Hell. We find photos of it back then and check it on Google Maps in its current location. No Joy.

Lowes Then And Now
Lowes, then and now.

The Stag’s Head


We start to forensically examine the picture. The beermats are certainly a clue – they clearly state: “Stag For Enjoyment”. Stag’s head, we dare to hope for a minute before agreeing that these probably refer to Stag Lager (correction: Stag was a cider, not a lager. Thanks to Jack Gleeson on Twitter for the heads up) and that this is not the Stag’s Head. We check Dame Lane on Google Maps, anyway and find that the ironwork outside the pub has an insignia similar in style to that of the one on the window in the picture. But the windows in the Stag’s Head don’t correspond.

The Window


This segues us nicely into the window, the most unique feature of the image. The insignia set into the centre of it is the logical first section to examine. We decide that it’s most likely to be intended to be street-facing, meaning that it’s back-to-front in the image. So we flip it to have a look at what it’s supposed to look like from the front. It seems to contain some sort of combination of letters: J and a C, for certain. Maybe a T too. The James Connolly? The Julius Caesar? The Jesus Christ?

J O Connell in Portobello, I wonder, half knowing that it couldn’t be. We check and find that the building doesn’t conform to the window shape. We then set about looking for old Dublin pub and publican names conforming to some assortment of the initials but tire of this easily enough. We park that and move on.

The Gig, The Venue & The Magazine


We know that the image coincides with a gig that Depeche Mode were playing so the location of the gig seems the next logical thing to look at. There are a few different suggestions as to where that was in the various comment sections of the various instances of the photo on social media – the most common of which are that is was in The SFX – the St. Francis Xavier hall on Dorset St. We set about confirming that and in doing so, find a scan of the original article that featured the picture in  NME Magazine.

The magazine article, which is uploaded to a website called BrandNewRetro, makes no mention of name of the pub – nor the website post it is attached to. The post even asks readers if they recognise the pub. There’s a comment section where one of the commenters offers The Welcome Inn, on Parnell Street, as a possible solution. It’s proximity to the venue makes it worthy of checking out.

None of us had ever been prior to the pub closing down, so we have no first hand knowledge. Most historical pictures of the pub relate to the damage caused to it in the 1974 bombings which accompanied others in Dublin & Monaghan. We wonder whether the pub would have installed such ornate and decorative windows after such damage and ultimately agree that the shape of the windows don’t match those in the Depeche Mode image. Back to the magazine for clues we go. It comes by way of the name of the photographer

The Photographer


Photography: Adrian Boot, the article reads, in capital font – we type it into google and find a link to his Facebook page – not a business page. His personal profile. I hover over the Add Friend button for a moment. Fuck it, I think. I’ve come this far. To my surprise, the man who stood in this very pub and snapped this very picture adds me back almost immediately.

Instantly, I set about posting to his profile. I craft a graceful and complimentary paragraph to accompany the photo and ultimately ask him if he remembers the location. Moments that feel like eternities pass and a notification pops up. He has replied. I wait for it to load.

“haven’t got a clue”

Fuck ye in anyways, Adrian!

By now we’re weary. We decide we’ve probably exhausted every avenue and nearly agree that we’ll have to put the matter to bed. But not before one last check on the Instagram post to see if there are any more suggestions. And there we lay our eyes on a post that says:

“Hill16. The glass pane is now behind the bar in brannigans cathedral St. It was brought there by the previous owner from the hill.

Brannigan’s


We’ve been in Brannigan’s a good few times but it doesn’t ring a bell. Google Images to the rescue. Lo and Behold, there it is in all its glory, the very same insignia in the middle.

We pull up a few historical pictures of the Hill 16.They are not close up enough that any details in the windows can be made out. But we count the panels in the windows facing onto the street and they seem to check out.

2 Old Photos of The Hill 16 Bar from The Dublin Library Collection
Comparing the panels in the two windows

But then we notice that there’s a difference in the two. In the Brannigan’s one, the sections with the cross (the +) are on the outside. But they’re not so in the image of Andy.

It’s late. And we’ve been at this a while. Begrudgingly, we have no option but to accept that this is just a different window in the pub. We actually have exhausted every avenue now. We’re about 65% sure it’s the Hill 16. That will do. We need to sleep.  

Big Jack Enters


Fast forward another two or three months and Ireland is set into grief and mourning upon the announcement of the death of Jack Charlton. I’m watching the news that night and in the middle of one of the many reports on Jack, they roll a clip of him holding a trophy on front of a pane of very familiar looking stained glass.

I pull the image down from the RTE Player to compare it to that from 1983 and find that Jack’s one unarguably has only the 2 initials – J and C. No sign of a T to be seen. And it appears to be in a house, as opposed to a pub. So, I google Jack Charlton Stained Glass and the glorious floodgates open.

An excerpt from the Irish Independent article.

As per an Irish Independent Article, wasn’t the stained glass window only presented to Jack by the people who ran a pub, you’ll never guess which one! Wasn’t it only The Hill 16! The boozer happens to be the first and the last pub that Jack drank in at the start of and the end of his tenure as the manager of the Republic of Ireland football team. And as such, is mentioned along with a humorous anecdote from the pub in an RTE news report on Jack’s sacking. (Link Below)

Jack Charlton Resigns

Republic of Ireland soccer manager Jack Charlton resigns after nine and a half years. Arriving at Dublin airport, Charlton refuses to speak to the press and heads straight for a meeting with the Football Association of Ireland where he announced his resignation as manager of the Republic of Ireland football team.

And so there it was. Proven, as far as we were concerned, beyond a reasonable doubt. And Big Jackie Charlton, the man that launched a million sessions – his parting gift to us, as if he ever needed give us another. May he rest in peace.

Update:

We were overwhelmed by the response to this article after we published it. People really just can’t get enough (sorry). Anyhow, the internet really is a fantastic thing when you think about it, we had a reply to the tweet with the article from one Geoff Boyle. Geoff mentioned that The Hill 16 happened to be one that his father and his uncle “supported” back when he was growing up and asked if we’d like him to have a go at establishing the identity of the woman in the photo. We took him up on the offer, of course.

Geoff replied to us last night and told us that the woman was Lizzie Ryan. Lizzie was a street trader up on Parnell Street and she would pop in for a sup on her way home to Mountjoy Square after a day out hawking her wares.

So when you next get out to the pub and have a fresh pint on front of you, stick a bit of Depeche Mode on the Jukebox and raise your glass for Lizzie and for Big Jack.

In the midst of our new normal lockdown status, we stumbled upon an instagram page called Creatives Against COVID-19. Their premise was fairly straightforward:

  • Have people send in images, illustrations, photos, sketches, whatever you’re having yourself, under the the one brief: ‘Soon’.
  • Create and sell prints of the submitted artwork
  • Donate the money to Womens Aid & the ISPCC

Looking at the images trickling in on their feed, we were kicking a few ideas around of what we could submit and eventually put something together only to realise that we’d missed the submission deadline.

Thankfully though, after posting the image on Instagram, the folks behind the initiative got onto us and allowed us to make a late submission. So we did. Here it is below.

It’s available for sale over on the link listed below. So if you like the look of it, please consider purchasing it as the funds will go to two very worthy causes.

Dublin By Pub

Creatives Against Covid-19 called on the creative industry to design and donate inspiring posters to raise funds for vulnerable women and children during the current crisis. The result? Over 1,000 posters, from over 30 countries, were designed and submitted within 7 days.

And if you’re not into it, there are hundreds more prints on the Creatives Against COVID-19 website, many of them – far superior to out efforts.

Creatives Against Covid-19

Please note due to Covid-19 we can only ship to the following countries: Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, USA, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Luxembourg for now.

So since we last posted the entire world has changed. I don’t need to tell you about the coronavirus, you’re likely to be getting that from all angles. But for those of you who have been living under a rock, all pubs in Dublin, and Ireland have closed in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

It was last Thursday, the 12th of March that The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, announced the closure of schools, universities and other such public spaces and advised that we all needed to start engaging in social distancing. Queue panic buying and a large move to remote working for those who could.

In the following weekend it became quite apparent that pub-goers weren’t the best at the whole social distancing thing. And on the Saturday following the Taoiseach’s statement, and following a slew of videos from packed pubs that day and the night before, a movement aiming to dissuade pub-goers and would-be pub-goers from going to the pub began online under the hashtag #closethepubs. This was amplified when the Chief Medical Officer made mention of the issue in a press conference.

Pubs slowly began to close. The first we noticed was Peadar Browns, who announced on the Saturday morning that they felt it in the best interest to shut up shop. Then came Grogan’s, and Grogan’s being a pub that’s a little more known than Peadars, it cast a few fairly big ripples into the whole metaphorical pub closure ocean.

Realising that our social media reach to the pub-going public was more considerable than most, we thought it best to put something out through our active channels to push the message out further. So the graphic (pictured) was hastily put together, the ‘leave the pub now to get back to it quicker’ sentiment of it having come from Historian, podcaster and Grogan’s diehard, Donal Fallon in a conversation we had over DM on Instagram.



Shortly thereafter, we decided to start compiling a list of pubs that had made the difficult and repsonsible decision to close on a Twitter thread and then things sort of took off. More and more pubs began to announce closures and the tweet started to amass a decent amount of traction.

By Sunday morning, government were in the media stating that they would legislatively shut pubs if needs be and public pressure had shut the majority of pubs. A meeting was convened between government and the LVA and the VFI, the latter two being the main publican lobby groups in the country. Following this meeting, it was agreed that pubs would close to facilitate the tackling of the spread of COVID-19.

So no pubs on Paddy’s Day. A grim first, especially when considering the fact that the LVA spokesperson stated that some pubs may never reopen due to the financial upheaval caused by the closures. Devastating.

So that was that. All pubs closed. Then come Monday, I happened upon a New York Times article:

Last Orders… Ireland Closes All Pubs on Eve of St Patrick’s Day

DUBLIN – Ireland on Sunday said all bars in the country should close until at least the end of the month to curb the spread of coronavirus after videos of groups singing in packed Dublin venues sparked anger on social media.

The article, which is taken from Reuters and is duplicated on a number of other major publications including the Huffington Post and others across the world. The article, which reports on the pub closures, ends with the paragraph:

Twitter users praised the pubs that had closed voluntarily, with the DublinByPub.ie bar guide offering a list of responsible pubs “to go on the lash in when this is all over.”

So there you have it, I’ve officially added “got the phrase ‘go on the lash’ published in three major global publications” to my CV.

Recently it was reported that An Garda Siochana had decided to notify the proprietors of John Kavanagh’s (AKA The Gravedigger’s) that they need to stop people from bringing their pints outside the pub and enjoying them on the green space to the front of the pub.

Gravediggers calls time on enjoying a pint outside – Independent.ie

One of the most famous pubs in Dublin has been told by gardai not to allow anyone to take drink or food outside its premises. Since 1833, Dubliners have long enjoyed drinking pints outside the iconic John Kavanagh’s bar in Glasnevin, more commonly known to Dubliners as The Gravediggers.

Now, personally, we’re more at home drinking our pints within the confines of the unadulterated perfection that is the bar in The Gravediggers, but when we saw this it just didn’t sit well with us. I mean, by all accounts this is a practice which has gone on for years with little or no major complaint. Along with this, there is no uniformed policing of this law across the city – so to single out The Gravedigger’s seems a bit unfair. And last but not least, how many actual days do we get in this sunforsaken city of ours that we’d be able to retire onto the green to have a few scoops.

So we decided to start a petition….

Sign the Petition

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500! It was recently reported in the news that Gardaí are to clamp down on the tradition of having a few pints outside Kavanagh’s (aka The Gravediggers) pub in Glasnevin.

Though, slow at first – the petition started to take off. Hundreds of signatures began to flow in and we even saw a bit of media attention.

Petition launched to repeal ban on pints outside Dublin’s most famous pub

A petition has been set up to repeal the ban on drinking outside one of Dublin’s most famous pubs. It was reported on Wednesday that Gardai had told the owners of Glasnevin watering hole, John Kavanagh’s ‘The Gravediggers’ that they could no longer let customers bring their pints outside.

Petition launched after gardai ban drinking outside one of Dublin’s iconic pubs | Buzz.ie

John Kavanagh in Glasnevin – better known as ‘The Gravediggers’ – is famous for its atmosphere, traditional food and absolutely cracking pints of Guinness. Located right next to Glasnevin Cemetery, Gravediggers draws a huge crowd of both locals and outsiders who flock to the historic pub to soak up some old-school Dublin charm, with the pub famed for having no singing, dancing or TVs.

Petition launched to allow drinking outside popular Dublin pub after Garda ban

A PETITION has been launched to repeal the ban on drinking outside iconic Gravediggers pub following public outcry. Gardai told the historic Glasnevin pub, John Kavanagh’s, also known as The Gravediggers, that they are not allowed to let punters to bring pints outside the premises.

So please do sign the petition if you’re with us and fed up with this nanny-stateism! It’s only a few pints sure.

Anyone heading off on their holliers in July? We’re thrilled to announce that Dublin By Pub is included as part of the Documenting Dublin feature of this month’s issue of the fantastic Aer Lingus inflight magazine, CARA.

Make sure to have a thumb through and give it a read if you’re lucky enough to be jetting off somewhere, or check it out here if you’re like us and will only get as far as the other side of the city for the month ahead.

Last month Pintman №2 and I were delighted to be in the awesome surroundings of The Open Gate Brewery as we made DublinByPub’s first tentative steps onto an aural platform.

As part of their Open Gate Series, we joined the sound gang of lads from The Fine Ale Countdown podcast.

We had a good chat with the lads about all things pints and pubs and no doubt we managed to fit in a fair bit of nonsense too. Search it out on your podcast app of choice or follow this link to have a listen .

We’d like to thank The Fine Ale Countdown lads for having us on, and a big thanks to Alan and all the lads at the OGB who looked after us while we were in. You can read up on our thoughts on The Open Gate Brewery (which are based on a previous visit) Here.

We recently teamed up with Irish Tatler Men and are delighted to announce that they’ve allowed us some space in their fantastic magazine to wax lyrical about the pubs of the capital. We’ve written a few words on The Piper’s Corner for their current (Spring) edition.

 

The latest edition (as seen above) is out now and we’d love for you to pick it up and let us know what you think about Dublin By Pub’s first non-digital post.

Recently we were delighted to chat to the lovely Annemarie McCarthy in Lonely Planet who was interested to hear about our thoughts on Dublin and Irish Pubs, and chat about DublinByPub in general.

We’re delighted to note that our interaction was nicely summarised and put into article form and is available to view at your convenience from the link below.

Three friends are on a mission to review every pub in Dublin

With more than 700 pubs in Dublin to choose from, visitors – and even locals – are never going to be able to try and test every single one. Now one Instagram account is making it a bit easier for you by setting out to publish an in-depth review of each one.