Landmark County Limerick pub closes its doors after 203 years

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Historic: Hanly's pub has been part of the fabric of life in Boher from 1812 until this week when it closed its doors. Picture: Michael Cowhey
ONE OF THE oldest pubs in County Limerick called time this week after serving the local community in Boher for over 200 years.

ONE OF THE oldest pubs in County Limerick called time this week after serving the local community in Boher for over 200 years.

The Hanly name goes back to the very beginning in 1812 and it was with sadness that William and Margaret let it be known to patrons and friends that a farewell gathering would take place on Monday night.

Like all pubs Hanly’s has faced the challenges of below cost selling of alcohol by supermarkets; rates; emigration and changing social habits. Former councillor, John Egan can remember being taken to the pub by his dad when he was a child and attended Monday’s event.

“It was a lonesome night. Monday nights were always great nights, the craic would be mighty. I often came in after political party or farm meetings but last Monday was a time for reminiscing. There was a big crowd, all locals and they were sad to see it go. I would like to thank William and Margaret for what they did for voluntary organisations. They made their pub available when the hall in Boher wasn’t there to local groups and political parties. Their contribution to the local community was enormous,” said Mr Egan.

“It just shows you what is happening in rural communities. They are being absolutely destroyed. Pubs can’t compete with what the supermarkets are doing. There was always part-time employment for youngsters going to college too. It is a big loss,” said Mr Egan.

Pat O’Connell, chairman of Boher Community Development Association, said the hospitality from William and Margaret was always brilliant.

“The last night we had there was the launch of our 2015 calendar a few weeks ago. Anytime we wanted to hold a quiz or a launch William was only a phone call away and delighted to accommodate us. The GAA held meetings there and before the hall was completed the development association meetings were there. It is a sad occasion for everybody,” said Mr O’Connell, who thanked the Hanlys on behalf of the association.

There is a famous story from 1950 involving RAF pilot Chris Humphreys, father of well-known local pilot Gerry. The RAF man took a detour from a training mission in the UK to fly over East Limerick. He had a bet with his navigator that he would show him a village where every house was a pub. He flew over Boher and duly won his bet. With the closure of Downey’s many years ago and now Hanly’s it is sadly down to two.