Cork pub is welcoming customers since 1789

As we continue our series on Cork’s bars, CHRIS DUNNE visits Auntie’s pub in Tower, near Blarney
Cork pub is welcoming customers since 1789

David and Carmel O’Callaghan of Auntie's Bar in Tower.

AS its name suggests, Aunties pub in Tower is a family-run business.

“We’d like to thank all our staff over the years for their help and support,” says owner Carmel O’Callaghan, who features in The Bar Stool.

How did Auntie’s come upon its name?

“The previous owners were O’Leary’s, they inherited the pub from their aunt,” says Carmel, who owns Auntie’s with her husband David.

“The name stuck. We are here 24 years and we love the business and we have made lots of friends here.

“The pub was established in 1789 and still has the original stone front.”

Auntie’s is well known to visitors and to locals alike.

“We are on the Blarney/Killarney tourist route,” says Carmel.

“So we get a lot of tourists coming in all year round en route to Killarney, especially during the summer months.

“Of course, during Covid we didn’t see many tourists in the last two years. We were relying on our neighbours and our locals. Even though we noticed a lot of older people stopped coming to the pub, and we missed them,” says Carmel.

“They got used to staying at home and got out of the habit of going to the pub. The pandemic had a big impact on the tourist business as well.”

 Nicola Lambert, Sharon Cummins and Ellen Desmond at Aunties in Tower. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Nicola Lambert, Sharon Cummins and Ellen Desmond at Aunties in Tower. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Auntie’s has a lot going for it.

“Our breakfast is very popular and we are supposed to have the best pint of stout in Cork! We have a great name for our food and we use all locally produced meat and vegetables,” says Carmel.

“Our fish is fresh every Friday, from Union Hall. We are renowned for our fresh hake onFridays.

“Our food is served daily from 10am to 6pm. We do click-and-collect facility and takeaways.

“Auntie’s is popular for christenings, communions and confirmations and parties.”

It’s a busy spot.

“All age groups come into the pub,” says Carmel.

“We have a pool table, a darts board, and we have bingo every Tuesday night. I call out the numbers and it’s good fun. We have a full house every week for the bingo.”

Auntie’s caters for everyone.

“We have all the live soccer matches and racing channels on TV for the punters,” says Carmel.

“There is something for everyone.”

Both Carmel and David enjoy horse racing.

“We have two race horses who made a name for themselves, in Fairy House and Mallow; Kaizer Black and Auntie’s Delight,” says David.

“We’re still hoping for the big one, the Gold Cup in Cheltenham!.”

In the meantime racing fans can enjoy racing nearer home.

“We run a bus to Mallow races every year and it’s always full for the day out.”

Carmel and David live in Crossbarry.

“We’ve a 15km commute to work,” adds Carmel.

“David and I run the pub together with our brilliant staff and we love the sociability of it and meeting people. 

"It is a way of life for us. We’re in it together.”

Auntie’s is a great place to gather and chat.

“There are great characters coming into the place,” says David.

 Sharon Cummins at Aunties in Tower, Co. Cork.
Sharon Cummins at Aunties in Tower, Co. Cork.

“Both old and young, they all have their own traits and sayings, we enjoy all that.”

Do the yarn spinners sit in the Liar’s Corner?

David laughs.

“We used to have a customer who came in with his dog, Yorkie. Yorkie became the man’s nickname and he named a corner in the bar Liar’s Corner. He used to love that corner.

“A lot of story-telling goes on there alright!”

Carmel and David are looking forward to a good summer.

“We put in a new beer garden out the front last year, where people can eat and drink,” says Carmel.

“It’s a great venue for barbecues and parties. We have live music on Saturday nights, and we have good parking space.

“We want to facilitate our customers the best way we can.

“It’s great to see people gathering together again.”

Carmel and David have five children.

“They are all off doing their own thing,” says David. “The kids all helped out when they were at home - but they’re not letting us retire yet!”

Carmel and David are good friends with their customers.

“We got to know lots of people here over the years and made friends with them,” says David.

The couple adore their work.

“I love being a publican,” says Carmel.

“It is a different way of life and it can be challenging at times.

“Dealing with people all day every day is not always easy.”

Carmel and David are wise to the business, and what is needed to succeed.

“We do know that the customer is always right!”

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