J. Curran’s Shop Bar, Dingle, Co Kerry – Half shop, Half pub, Full of character

“I try to keep everything the same as it was, that’s one of my traditions. Keep things as they were. There’s enough of things changing in the world.” –James Curran

The pub was originally opened on Dingle’s Main Street by James Curran in 1871. Students of Irish language and history will readily be able to place that heritage in context by noting that Peig Sayers, a ‘seanachai’ made famous in the autobiography ‘Peig’ which recalls her life as a lonely fisherman’s wife , actually worked in the bar for a time as a teenager, given she was a distant relative of the Curran family.

The pub’s heritage and classic ‘untouched’ guise are all heavily linked to the Curran family’s ongoing patronage. The pub has barely changed in nearly 150 years, in light of its continued familial care and attention, allowing a unique peek into a slice of Irish public house life largely long since passed. Pubs like Curran’s, administered by several generations of the same considerate ancestry, are a privilege to be able to visit given their rarity. There is absolutely no guarantee such passing of the reins from one generation to the next will continue indefinitely.

On the left, you have the old shop, still a functioning juncture for picking up the odd essential or two – and a delightful hark back to the dual-role of many of these fine old Irish pubs – and to the right you have the main bar. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Curran’s was a busy general merchant in Dingle’s bustling commercial centre. In that bygone era, local farmers would drop in to buy shirts and boots for themselves, animal feed for their livestock and a pint of stout for their troubles, all in one visit!

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