Frank McCourt’s Historic Pubs of Dublin

historic pubs 2In 2008 Frank McCourt, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Angela’s Ashes, hosted a one hour special for PBS named The Historic Pubs of Dublin.

The Iowa public television folks have an excellent set of photos on Flickr taken from the video which you can see here.

The DVD can also be purchased here on Amazon Canada.

To the right is the DVD cover art showing Frank McCourt sitting at a small table in Mulligan’s.

The host also mentions the craic that goes on in Irish pubs.

I was not able to find the entire one hour show online.  I only found a couple of short clips but we can see several of the very best pubs in Dublin that we’ve documented here on this website.  The host explains John Mulligan’s preference for standing while drinking.  Also prominently featured in the video is O’Donoghue’s.   Look for The Stag’s Head pub, The Temple Bar pub, and the oldest pub in Ireland, The Brazen Head.


From Sony VideOn:

From YouTube:


MikeM Completes Seventh Boston Marathon with Personal Best Time

Mike and Sydney after the Boston Marathon 2014One of our and golfers, Mike McNeill, completed the Boston Marathon this past weekend with his daughter Sydney.

It was Mike’s seventh Boston Marathon and his personal best time of 3:23 which was good for 12th place of 55 New Brunswick runners.

13357, McNeill Mike G, 52, M, Riverview, NB, CAN

5k 10k 15k 20k Half
0:23:36 0:47:07 1:10:51 1:34:45 1:39:49
25k 30k 35k 40k
1:58:26 2:22:46 2:48:02 3:12:25


Pace Proj. Time Offl. Time Overall Gender Division
0:07:46 3:23:29 3:23:29 7356 6106 563


Mike and Sydney marathon timesHere is a short piece from local paper leading up to the race…

“Speaking of fast, the McNeill. family of Riverview has made the journey. The harder Mike McNeill lives, the less he trains but the faster he gets. The man defies science. I think the Leafs should draft him.

This year he has bride Dr. Jeannie McNeill and family in tow. Medical attention will likely not be required; she is married to a medical wonder. Daughter Sydney is in her first Boston and only second marathon. At age 24 she qualified with a 3:27. Watch her in the years ahead if not today.”


Here is the story as told to Sean Hatchard of the Moncton Times & Transcript…


Mike McNeill had more than enough reasons to enjoy the Boston Marathon yesterday.

McNeill, a 52-year-old from Riverview, posted the top time among Metro Moncton runners in the 118th running of the venerable marathon, finishing the 42.2-kilometre course in three hours 23 minutes 29 seconds.

More important than his showing, McNeill also shared the experience with his 24-year-old daughter, Sydney, who ran her first Boston Marathon.

It was a special day in Boston for McNeill, his daughter and so many others.

More than 32,000 people crossed the starting line at the marathon in a powerful show of defiance a year after the deadly bombing.

Boston marathon 1The two pressure-cooker bombs that went off near the end of the course last year killed three people and wounded more than 260 in a hellish spectacle of torn limbs, smoke and broken glass.

The runners this time hit the streets under extraordinary security that included a battery of surveillance cameras, more than 90 bomb-sniffing dogs and officers posted on roofs.

As runners continued to drag themselves across the finish line in the late afternoon, more than six hours into the race, state emergency officials reported no security threats other than some unattended bags.

“It was just fantastic. I’m going to say that Boston was strong today,” said McNeill, who ran his seventh Boston Marathon yesterday.

“This city was all about getting over last year and moving on and showing that everybody was supported – the athletes, the city and the victims.

“You couldn’t beat the atmosphere. Between all the people that were supporting us along the way and all the volunteers, everybody was supporting the race.”

McNeill had completed the course last year about 30 minutes before the bombings. He was relaxing at a cocktail bar a few blocks away when he heard the news.

Upon completing the race yesterday, his thoughts were with those who were closer to last year’s tragedy.

“I think of runners like Lyn Young (of Moncton), who was 100 metres from the finish line last year and witnessed the bomb and was turned back, and she came back this year. I came back to support her and others who were more directly affected”McNeill said.

“It still gives you a little tingle – I don’t know what it is.This past week there was a lot of news on it … it’s still in your mind.

“The city did a fantastic job.All the security that was in place was very visible, but it still ran extremely efficient. For everybody who supported the race, it was almost like,‘You’re not going take us down with terrorism’”

McNeill said the Boston course presents a difficult challenge, unlike any other marathon.

“I always try to enjoy the race and do the best I can, period. I did the best I could today,”he said.

“The Boston track is a grueling track. I just want to go out and enjoy the day, and enjoy the camaraderie between our group of runners. We’re all secretly competitive. You want to cheer on your buddy, but we’re always competitive to the end”

Having his daughter along for the ride yesterday made it extra special for McNeill. Sydney finished just her second marathon in 4:05:38.

“For her to be able to participate in Boston, it’s an honour and it was a lot of fun for me,”said McNeill.“She’s very independent. I gave her the choice at the start –‘Do you want to run with daddy or do you want to run by yourself?’She said, ‘I’ll do my own thing,’and I said,‘Cool,I’ll see you at the end’”

Vincent Merriam of Caraquet was the top New Brunswick finisher. Merriam, 35, placed 1,442nd overall in 2:54:39. Brenda Guitard of Saint John was the top female New Brunswick runner in a time of 3:13:19.

In all, 55 New Brunswickers completed the marathon. The Metro Moncton contingent also included Hans Laltoo of Moncton (3:26:09), John Dallaire of Moncton (3:30:53), Pat O’Brien of Moncton (3:30:54), Jessica Kennedy of Dieppe (3:36:30), Darrell Wilkins of Moncton (3:36:56), Kraig Colpitts of Moncton (3:38:03), Robert Forbes of Riverview (3:41:31), Robin Drummond of Moncton (3:45.10), Nicole Barrieau of Moncton (3:51:41),Richard Bennett of Dieppe (3:51:54), Larry Peacocke of Moncton (4:06:35), Susan Edgett of Moncton (4:08:37), Lyn Young of Moncton (4:22:16), Rejeanne Belliveau of Moncton (4:35:58) and Richard Steele of Moncton (5:01:59).

Among other New Brunswickers were Sandrine Caron of Pointe-A-Tom, near Tracadie-Sheila (3:44:41), Lori Singleton of Miramichi (3:51:19), Nathalie Carrier of Beresford (3:54:27),Maurice Vienneau of Note-Dame (4:46:03) and Albenie Losier of Losier Settlement, near Tracadie-Sheila (5:34:04).

Meb Keflezighi became the first American in 31 years to win the men’s race in 2:08:37. Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo won the women’s race in a course-record 2:18:57, defending the title she won last year.

Dublin’s Best Pub for Traditional Irish Music is O’Donoghue’s

Ranked #3 overall by

O’Donoghue’s may be ranked #3 pub in Dublin, but it is clearly the #1 pub in Dublin for traditional Irish folk music.

The Dubliners is the group most associated with O’Donoghue’s pub. The group played at the pub regularly in the early 1960’s.

If we want to see and hear some great Irish music with a pint of Guinness then O’Donoghue’s is where we need to go. Check out some of these clips from YouTube, starting with the tribute to the recent passing of one of members of The Dubliners…


Click on any image to launch the gallery…

O’Donoghue’s is located at 15 Merrion Row…

O'Donoghues in Google Street View

Click the image to jump to Google Street View

The #1 and Oldest Pub in Dublin is The Brazen Head

Ranked #1 by

The Brazen Head is officially the oldest pub in Ireland and one of the oldest pubs in the world. It opened in 1198! Hopefully somebody has replaced the urinal pucks since then.

Yes, that’s the great Tom Jones, a Welshman, singing at The Brazen Head. The occasion was Arthur’s Day 2009 celebrating 250 years of Guinness brewing. If the pub is good enough for Tom Jones, then, well…


Click the image to see Tom Jones at The Brazen Head on YouTube


Click any image to launch the gallery viewer…

The Brazen Head is located at 20 Lower Bridge Street…

Brazen Head in Google Street

Click the image to jump to Google Street View

Kissing the Blarney Stone

So who’s up for climbing up to the parapet at the top of a castle, in Ireland, where you will lay down on your back, hanging your head backwards and down through a hole that is 20m above the ground, while being held by a stranger, and then planting your lips on a chunk of rock where unknown thousands have gone before you?  Volunteers?

The Blarney Stone is one of the more famous tourist attractions in Ireland.  Legend has it that once you kiss the Blarney Stone you will then have the gift of eloquence and persuasiveness.  It’s unclear if that is going to occur before or after a pint of Guinness at the pub.


The only opportunity we would have to fit this into the Itinerary would be following Round 8 at Old Head and on the return trip to Murphys of Killarney. Blarney Castle is not exactly on the road between Killarney and the Old Head Golf Links. But its not too far off the route.  Here is a comparison.

Old Head – Murphys of Killarney = 1hr 45min

Old Head – Blarney Castle – Murphys of Killarney = 2hr 23min

Counties of Ireland

A wee bit of Irish geography.  During the trip we will be visiting and playing in four counties: Dublin, Clare, Kerry and Cork.

County Dublin is the home of the city of Dublin of course, and the 1.2 million residents in the county.

County Clare is the home of the villages of Lahinch and Doonbeg where we will start the golf tour.

County Kerry is the home of village of Ballybunion and the cities of Tralee and Killarney.

County Cork is the home of the Old Head

About the villages, towns and cities…

Lahinch in County Clare is a small village with a population of 642.  It is mostly known for the golf course we will play Lahinch Golf Club and more recently for the surfing.  Earlier this winter the promenade, seawall and businesses on the promenade took a beating in a severe winter storm.  Check out the pictures here, here and here.

Doonbeg in County Clare is another small village of just 754 residents.  For a small village it has a good selection of pubs.

Ballybunion in County Kerry is a village in County Kerry with 1365 residents.  Not surprisingly the village is most famous for the Ballybunion Golf Club which was founded in 1893.  What is surprising is the town has a statue of Bill Clinton.  In the statue he is holding his club.

Tralee is the largest town in County Kerry with a population of 23,000.  The Tralee Golf Club is actually 14km away, west on the Atlantic coast, from the centre of Tralee which is located at the head of Tralee Bay.

Killarney in County Kerry will be our home for three nights.  It has a population of 14,000 and sits of the shore of Lough Leane which is part of Killarney National Park.

Old Head Golf Links in County Cork is nearby the village of Kinsale with its 2100 residents.  Kinsale is well known as a tourist town with its brightly coloured shops, excellent restaurants and a Gourmet Festival.

Note that the counties of Clare, Kerry and Cork are 3 of the 6 counties that form the province of Munster.

Counties of Ireland