This weekend across the country we get set to remember, reflect and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the reading of the 1916 Proclamation. Here at Thomas Connolly Sligo, it’s an opportune time to reflect on our own rich history as our town’s oldest public house.
First licensed in 1861, the riverside pub was acquired by Thomas Connolly in 1890, the same year he became mayor of Sligo.
After World War I, Connolly’s became one of the leading grocery bars and wine merchants in Sligo, and was particularly well-known for their famous blends of tea, which were kept beneath a series of wooden arched shelves behind the bar. Speaking to the Sligo Champion, previous publican and proprietor Gerry Nicholson recalls, “There used to be a grocer's at one end of the pub, popular for making sugar, tea, meal and bottling whiskey and Guinness”. You can still see evidence of the whiskey-bottling practice behind the bar today: the brass paraphernalia, the Avery weighing scales, the Sykes hydrometer and the original jars line the shelves.
During the 1930s, Sligo was the second biggest port in north-western Ireland. Every week, cargo ships from various European countries would dock, laden with supplies of food and fuel. Gerry recalls, "The section facing Markievicz Road was known as Doctors' End, while the Holborn Street side was referred to as Dockers' End. Years ago, when the dock was busy, with more than six ships stopping a week, Connolly's would have been a big dockers' pub."
These days, Connolly’s is best known for its warm welcome, its famous pint of stout, and its relaxing tongue and groove snugs. Looking to the future, we want to both continue and build on this tradition. Recently we’ve put Thomas Connolly’s pub online with the launch of a new website and online store. We encourage conversations on social media as we aim to connect and share our story with friends around the world. In the pub there’s an ever-growing craft beer and whiskey collection and with a new coffee machine we’ll happily prepare a freshly ground or speciality coffee for you.
With the planned events this coming weekend and in particular this Sunday here in Sligo, we want to offer an extended welcome to locals and visitors. Let’s raise a glass as friends in historic settings. Here at Thomas Connolly Sligo we have a full weekend of music ahead starting Friday evening from 5pm. with the Gerry Grennan and the Old Market Street Swing band. On Sunday our resident Trad session is set to strike a chord from 9:30pm with Brian Mc Donagh (Dervish), Rick Epping, Leonard Barry and friends. Come join us!
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