WHEN a young Maureen McMahon started pulling pints behind the bar in Derry Honan’s pub in 1970, it was all down to political pull.
“When Maureen came here first, it was very much a Fianna Fáil pub. The owner, Derry Honan was a Fianna Fáil senator then and his wife, Treas was a senator later on,” said Maureen’s husband, Michael Daly, as she bowed out after 44 years behind the bar in what is now Dan O’Connell’s Bar in Abbey Street.
“The clientele was different at that time. It was Tadhg Wynne that got me the job here, and he was a very strong Fianna Fáil supporter. When I first came into Ennis I stayed with Tadhg in Parnell Street and he got me the job here. He was a lovely man. I used to cycle out home to Connolly then on my days off and then cycle back after visiting my father and brother, Pat Joe McMahon and sister, Bridget. Our mother died when I was nine and my father died in 1987, the year we got married,” Maureen told The Clare Champion.
Honan’s changed hands in 1976 and became Michael ‘Nuggy’ Nihill’s Pub and in 1980. Maureen decided to take some time out go to the US “for a change”.
“Friends of mine were going and I have an uncle and an aunt in Albany, New York. I had an aunt there as well, she was a nun and used to send clothes home for me when my mother died, so I went over,” she recalled. “I remember we did a lot of child minding and fruit picking and I had a great time,” Maureen added.
When Maureen came back to Clare for a visit a year later, she met Michael Daly and decided to stay in Ennis. She returned to Nihill’s and Maureen and Michael were married in 1986 and moved to St Joseph’s Terrace in Clarecastle.
Maureen has become such a favourite with customers over the years that Mark Kelly, the owner of Dan O’Connell’s, and her colleagues decided to mark her retirement in style by putting on a big party last Friday evening.
“I was overwhelmed by the retirement party that they put on for me,” Maureen said. “I was working and I was glad it was during the day because I’m not great at parties. But the beautiful bouquets of flowers, the decorations, the cake and the presents were completely overwhelming.”
“It was lovely that everyone came in to say goodbye and all the good wishes that they gave me,” added Maureen.
She paid tribute to everyone that she met there through the years; all the people she worked for; the owner, Mark Kelly and Gerry and Teresa, Mark’s parents; as well as the Diamond Bar, who brought in a cake and all her colleagues.
Married to Michael, a brother of Clare hurling star, Anthony Daly, the couple have a huge interest in hurling, following Anthony’s career on the pitch and then on the sideline.
“I love going to hurling matches. We would go away for weekends to follow the hurling and Anthony. I still remember the All-Ireland final in 1995. We were up all night and never got to bed. We both love it and followed the Dubs when Anthony was with them. Michael retired two years ago from the Tech and I got the longing then once he had retired and said I’ll have to take off too,” Maureen concluded.
By Ron Kirwan