Publican Charlie Chawke reflects on a career born in 'special' Adare

Since leaving Limerick village at age of 16, Chawke has become a household name

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery

Publican Charlie Chawke reflects on a career born in 'special' Adare

Charlie Chawke has a total of nine bars nationwide, but pulled his first pint in Adare

SINCE leaving Adare at the tender age of 16 to cut his teeth in the bar trade, publican Charlie Chawke has become a household name in the industry.

The nationally well-known figure comes from a long family line of Adare publicans. Despite having several bars in Dublin, he is showing no signs of slowing down in the historical Limerick village he was born into.

“We are there a long time - six generations in Lena’s. My grandmother was a Fitzgerald lady who married a Chawke, and her family had been there four generations there before that - since 1806, around the time it was built,” Mr Chawke told the Limerick Leader.

“My dad was in Bill Chawke’s up the street, he bought it in 1959. Lena, my aunt, ran Lena’s for 60 years all on her own. We have seven pubs in Dublin and two in Adare,” he said.

Despite being based in Dublin with his wife - and having raised his five children there - Mr Chawke has never forgotten his home village.

“Adare is a special village, it’s very close to my heart. We are involved as well in the GAA and in all sports. I sponsor the Adare hurlers - they won the county for the first time in 2001. We had great times then, and we still have great times - we are looking forward to winning it again this year!” he said.

As the industry gets back on its feet after the recession, Chawke’s pub group is going from strength to strength. After acquiring the old courthouse in Adare, the publican is merging it into Aunty Lena’s, and creating a heritage bar with museum elements, all about Adare’s history.

And despite not living in Limerick himself, Charlie said that he wouldn’t like to see the Chawke pub line ending in the village in his lifetime.

“My dad and mum were living in Bill Chawke’s, and my Aunty Lena was living in Lena’s. When they died, my sister Mary and my brother Billy inherited the pubs. Some years later, they retired, and I suppose you could say, I retired the two of them, by purchasing the two pubs.

“I came back to Adare to keep the family name going. I can’t let it out of the family, not in my time anyway! I have five children, and the five of them are involved in the pubs,” he added.