No two days are ever the same at this Cork bar

Jack Doyle’s is a regular haunt for locals and tourists alike, says owner Ger Curley, who talks to CHRIS DUNNE about the business
No two days are ever the same at this Cork bar

Ger and Catherine Curley pictured outside their premises, ‘Jack Doyle’s’ Bar, Midleton Street, Cobh. Pictures: Howard Crowdy.

GOOD coffee, a tasty dish of haddock, and a cosy atmosphere make Jack Doyle’s bar feel like home.

“During Covid, we started up a takeaway delivery service and that is still going strong,” says owner Ger Curley, who served in the Navy from 1983 until 2004. He features in The Bar Stool series today.

“I bought the pub and the shop next door in 2006. The shop is leased out now and my wife, Catherine, is the postmistress.

Jack Doyle’s is a family affair.

“My brother Thomas was in the Navy too,” says Ger, “and he took over the kitchen three years ago when he retired.

The owners in front of a large picture of Jack Doyle in the Jack Doyle’s Bar.
The owners in front of a large picture of Jack Doyle in the Jack Doyle’s Bar.

“He works with a team of chefs that help run the kitchen. It is a seven day a week job

“I do a lot of the administration,” adds Ger, who is dad to Thomas and Niamh.

“Niamh is a marketing student so she is great on social media and Instragram. She puts up posts about the bar and what’s happening here,” says Ger, who is surrounded by good people supporting him in the business.

“The community is very supportive, which is great,” he adds.

“I have a long-standing staff member, Geraldine Daly, who is here 12 years, Sinead O’Keeffe was here for 13 years but she left the trade during Covid. It was challenging to keep staff during Covid and it still is.”

Ger likes interacting with his customers and with the tourists who come in to the pub to see photographs and the mural of Jack Doyle, the Gorgeous Gael, who was a boxer, an actor and a tenor.

“We get a lot of tourists from the liners who often take in the walking Trail with Michael Martin or with Kieran McCarthy,” says Ger.

“They love looking at the mural of Jack Doyle when they come in here and finding out more about him after the walk or after visiting the cathedral.

“There’s always a conversation going on about Jack Doyle.

“The hotels and B&Bs send a lot of visitors our way,” adds Ger.

“I enjoy the banter and the cráic with the visitors and they enjoy the interaction and hearing local stories. Jack Doyle entices the punters to come in.”

Ger and Catherine Curley pictured outside their premises, ‘Jack Doyle’s’ Bar, Midleton Street, Cobh.
Ger and Catherine Curley pictured outside their premises, ‘Jack Doyle’s’ Bar, Midleton Street, Cobh.

Other people enticed punters into Jack Doyle’s.

“One of our local characters, now deceased, Jimmy Moroney, had great jokes and stories,” says Ger.

“Everyone enjoyed them. Joe Moran was another story-teller of note. John Ryan, a man in his 80s, used to come into us every single evening. His family would drop him off and collect him. We miss John, who died last year.

“Unfortunately, we lost a lot of old friends due to Covid. It changed the nature of drinking, some people got used to staying at home. Covid changed our bar habits.

Staff members Colin Duggan, Lisa Rowe and manager Luke Barry pictured with owners Ger and Catherine Curley.
Staff members Colin Duggan, Lisa Rowe and manager Luke Barry pictured with owners Ger and Catherine Curley.

“Changes were on the way but Covid speeded it up. Fortunately for us, we kept the food delivery service going all through the pandemic. We were only closed for one week. We were very glad to have the business from the takeaway service. We have a great reputation for good food.”

Jack Doyle’s is a busy spot.

Owners Ger and Catherine behind the counter.
Owners Ger and Catherine behind the counter.

“There is always something happening,” says Ger.

“We cater for all age groups and for all occasions. We host parties at the weekends; 21st, 60th, 70th birthday parties and we are known as a popular venue for the day after the wedding.”

The locals support Jack Doyle’s.

“They favour coming to the bar at the weekends and the tourist trade is really picking up,” says Ger.

“I’d say this summer will be a good one tourist-wise.”

Jack Doyle’s is a sports bar and Ger sponsors Cobh Wanderers.

“We’d be classed as a Liverpool supporter’s bar,” says Ger.

“We show all the matches for the fans - those weekends are extra busy. There’s always a great atmosphere in the bar when Liverpool are playing.”

Ger is a golfer. Does he get much time off from the bar for his hobby?

“I’m a sunshine golfer!” says Ger.

“I like playing in the warm weather. I have a good manager, Luke Barry, so I can get out to tee off when it’s fine.

“He looks after the bar as I stepped back more in recent times.”

Ger likes the lifestyle of being a pub governor.

“No two days are the same and it is a 24/7 business. But we like it and hope to continue well into the future.

“We appreciate all our customers who stayed loyal to us through thick and thin. They are a great bunch!”

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