Our Story

One of Ireland's Best Loved Pub

Gus O'Connor's Pub

Est. 1832 in Doolin, co. Clare

Early Days

Gus O’Connor’s Pub was first established in 1832 and was a tiny rural pub which could hold only 20 customers when Gus O’Connor took over the family business from his father John  in 1956.

Doolin was just starting to make a name for itself at the time and Gus O’Connor, together with his wife Doll, played a crucial role in this process as musicians were always welcome to play in the pub, which wasn’t the case in many places back then.

Gus O'Connor's Pub Doolin co. Clare - Irish Traditional Music Pub on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way - Photo courtesy of Clare County Library
Photo courtesy of Clare County Library
Gus O'Connor's Pub Doolin Co. Clare - Irish Traditional Music Pub on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

The Pure Drop

Several music & folklore collectors visited Doolin on different occasions to record local tunes, songs and stories. Seamus Delargy came as early as the 1920s and he was followed by three of the most famous Irish Folklore Collectors: Seamus Ennis, Ciarán MacMathuna and Breandan Breatnach. O’Connor’s Pub hosted many of these recording sessions in the 40s and 50s which were made for archive purposes but also for radio broadcasting. And thus, following the broadcast of these recordings, Doolin was literally put on the map as a hot spot for traditional music, a place where you could experience “the Pure Drop”.

When Gus & Doll O’Connor took over pub in 1956, there weren’t many visitors to the area. But a global Folk revival peaked in Europe and America in the 1960s and music aficionados searching for the roots of Folk music started to make the journey to Doolin.

They discover an incredible wealth of traditional music indeed, but also a very warm welcome. This combination is the essence of O’Connor’s Pub and, through word of mouth, one of Ireland’s best kept secret was unveiled.

Gus & Doll O'Connor communicate something that is catching, it is essentially kindness and laughter and it infects and touches everyone who encounters it.

Michael Coady, Irish Poet

Gus & Doll O'Connor

The number of visitors had increased gently in the 50s and 60s, but by the late 70s, Micho Russell, Doolin’s most prominent musician, became so famous that he was playing regularly on TV and radio shows and toured all over Europe and America, attracting more people to Doolin who were coming especially to meet him at O’Connor’s Pub. But they discovered much more than that.

Over the next decades, people came to Doolin for the music of course, its beautiful location as well, but also to experience the friendly nature of its people. Gus & Doll  were the incarnation of this warm welcome, and as the poet Michael Coady noted, “Gus & Doll O’Connor communicate something that is catching, it is essentially kindness and laughter and it infects and touches everyone who encounters it”.

Gus O'Connor's Pub Doolin Co. Clare - Irish Traditional Music Pub on Irelnd's Wild Atlantic Way

Carrying on the Legacy

Gus & Doll O’Connor welcomed thousands and visitors and hundreds of musicians to Doolin over 40 years. They developed the pub together with their children and made it one of the world’s most iconic Irish Pub.

They retired in 1998, but their legacy lives on at Gus O’Connor’s Pub where you will always receive a warm welcome, listen to the best traditional music sessions and enjoy great Irish food.

A lot of people who come to Doolin often say they left a piece of their heart here. We feel lucky to have become friends with so many people who walked through our doors over the years and we are looking forward to making new friends still.