06 July 2010

Fanny O'Dea's Pub

Here I am, your roving reporter in Lissycasey, County Clare in the west of Ireland. I'm visiting my husband's cousins and attending a traditional Irish music festival for the next 3 days but more about that in later posts. Today I wanted to introduce the local pub located just down the street: Fanny O'Dea's.  Pubs in these country areas are not just for drinking but are the gathering spots for local families to socialize, eat, drink, listen to music and dance. They're great, important, fun neighborhood places.

Fanny O'Dea's is an old Irish traditional pub. Not as in the various themed pubs that have sprung up everywhere but as in it's been serving food and drink since 1695 making it Ireland's oldest family run pub! It's located on a main road between the towns of Ennis and Kilrush and offers locals, strangers and passers-by alike a pub to flock to. The house special is the Egg Flip (like an eggnog) and laced with a generous drop of Jamison whiskey.

Daniel O'Connell, in 1828, was but one of the famous customers to sample the pub's hospitality. Much has remained unchanged since the early days  and Fanny's has retained it's old characteristics. The snug, a small separate area where years ago women were required to sit rather than mingle with the men at the bar, is still there as a cozy corner to enjoy with friends.  The fire never goes out in the huge fireplace and is kept going all day everyday of the year. These, together with the Egg Flip represent the customs that have been passed down from generation to generation.

There's also a wealth of local musical talent with every Saturday devoted to traditional music sessions since this western part of Ireland maintains traditional music and dance. The curent owners are direct decendants of the original Denis and Fanny O'Dea as the family is now in its 8th generation of ownership. It exudes the unique warmth and coziness you might associate with an old Irish country pub. A couple of years ago I was in Ireland for Christmas Eve. Can you guess where most of the parish gathered after midnight Mass? Fanny O'Dea's it was! Ahhhh, Ireland.


  1. Sounds like you're having a ball! Don't forget, there's a comfy bed here if you need one...

  2. Oh, Mary! That sounds like SO much fun! I am insanely jealous. There are several European spots I've always wanted to go and the whole of Ireland is at the top of the list.
    And I can't wait to see the pictures!

  3. Oh how wonderful! I've been to County Clare, but it was more than 25 years ago. Are you near Bunratty Castle? I recall it as fun. And just being in that beautiful countryside is magical! Enjoy!

  4. Lucky you! Have a pint on us!

  5. Sounds like fun! My mother's family is from County Clare (Kennedys, they are).

    I went years ago to poke around at the roots of that family tree. My favorite moment was in a nice restaurant, where at one end stood two giant wing-back chairs facing a massive stone fireplace. Things were as you would expect in a restaurant, the air filled with good smells and the gentle murmur of diners' conversations. Suddenly, from one of the chairs, a beautiful tenor voice began singing. Loudly. No one could see him, hidden behind the chair back, but all conversation came to a stop while he sang one lovely Irish song after another.

    Then he stopped singing, set down his beer glass, and got up and left. And conversation resumed as if it had never happened. I still get chills just thinking about it!

  6. I was there 10 years ago for the O'Dea Clan Gathering, and you took me right back there!!


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