O’Connor’s pub legacy lives on throughout the generations

By Kiani Hildebrandt

A Galway family legacy has continued to push on through the O’Connor’s Pub

Known around the world, the O’Connor’s Pub has become a major part of Salthill night life for almost 80 years. Run by brothers Tom and Frank O’Connor, the pub is currently in the third generation of the family. 

“I’ve been doing it since I was 14 or 15 years old and this year I’m turning 50. I watched my dad, talking to people from all over. Just talking to and welcoming people,” said Frank O’Connor.

Over a year into the lockdown and Frank said he misses, “the locals, the stories, and people from all over the world.”  

Already, the fourth generation has begun training to take over one day as they work part time while attending college at NUI Galway. 

Deirbhle O’Connor, Tom’s daughter, said, “It was interesting growing up with the pub. Definitely different than what most people are used to.” 

“Dad never worked regular nine to five hours, and so it was always quiet in the evenings at home especially as my sister and I started to work there as well,” she said. 

Being raised in the pub atmosphere, the O’Connors have adapted to this lifestyle. 

“Always an O’Connor in the pub,” said Frank.  

“My night clock is still on. The most difficult and weirdest part is to go to bed early,” he said. 

Frank and Tom were raised around 13 uncles and aunts, but it was their father who had taken over the pub from the founding O’Connor.  

They chose Salthill as the location in order to be near NUI Galway, where five uncles had graduated from.  

From Frank and Tom, all four of their children are or have attended NUI Galway.  

The traditional pub has taken pride in the fact that there are no televisions. It is known for the drinks, traditional music, and “chatting and sharing stories.”  

“The Irish pub is known for good craic and atmosphere,”  Frank said.

Pub
Photo Courtesy of O’Connor’s Pub

Over the past year of being closed, Frank has felt that they are in a “lucky scenario”. 

“It’s tough to see [the pub] closed,” he said.  

Deirbhle said, “What I miss the most is the social aspect. How all ages would be able to mix and get to know each other. The sad thing is it won’t be back anytime soon.” 

“There are good days and bad days. It keeps you motivated, keeps you positive,” said Frank.  

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