Thursday, 14 July 2016

Hanlon's pub and Hanlon's Corner

Hanlon's pub gives its name to Hanlon's Corner at the top of Prussia Street. It's an old Dublin landmark; the bar features in an early chapter of Another Case in Cowtown.

As it faces onto the busy North Circular, it should ring a bell for many Dubliners who otherwise might think they've never been in Stoneybatter.
It suited my purposes: a down-to-earth, old-fashioned hostelry, a local at a crossroads where all classes of people mix, a place that was more rough around the edges and certainly not as hip as the Mulligans and Walshes of this world. But it's not one of those "pubs that time forgot" either - it rings the changes in its own way.
"Like many a Dublin pub, Hanlon's underwent radical surgery during the boom. Thankfully it wasn't a heart transplant, and the operation was deemed a great success: a tasteful enough refurb that managed to retain most of the original features of its Victorian bar, and most of the clientele."- Another Case in Cowtown (2013), p.15
Its outside has also gone through many colour schemes over the years. At one time it was blue and white. For a brief period after that it was a horrible English-mustard yellow and black, then cream and black. Now it's a very dark grey and white, a shopfront combination that seems almost de rigueur nowadays.

Hanlon's pub then (above) and now (below)

After the big 2006 refurbishment, the pub was put on the market at the end of 2013. It reopened recently under managers Mick Cleary and Daithí Jones, with the fresh paint job and a bilingual sign in a traditional Irish typeface. Now it's also called Teach an Margaid, which is Irish for "the house of the market".

The huge old cattle market used to be directly across the road, where the Drumalee estate stands today.

The same chapter in Another Case in Cowtown also refers to other businesses at Hanlon's Corner and near the start of the Old Cabra Road, including Gills - the Indian takeaway with a sign that really does also offer fish and chips, pizzas and kebabs.

Or is that a ghost sign from a previous time and place, called "Flame's Hut"?

Here comes Lidl

Anyway, everything at Hanlon's Corner is about to change, change utterly. In its onward conquest of Ireland, Lidl is about to build a new store on the site behind and either side of the pub, mainly where the PH Ross Builders Merchants and Home Improvement Centre used to be.

The buildings and warehouses will be demolished to make way for a three-storey building and car park. Besides the supermarket there will be a bakery, an off-licence, a bathroom and tile showroom, a DIY/hardware store (for PH Ross as part of the deal), and four new three-bedroom terraced houses with single access off Annamoe Road.

Believe it or not, at the height of the boom Dublin City Council originally bought the site for affordable housing. It sold it to Lidl at a huge loss.