There’s been something of an outcry over the news that the George Bernard Shaw, that distinctive pub on South Richmond Street in Dublin, is to close.
Sadly, I’ve never been in it – I don’t have any tattoos and I can’t grow a beard.
But it’s a place that certainly seemed to be lively any time I passed though some neighbours thought it a little too lively early in the mornings.
Dublin is changing. And there will always been those who mourn when old institutions die.
But why the GBS is getting all the attention is a little bit baffling.
There was no protest over Scruffy Murphy’s, none over Scotch House or the Tenters or The Big Tree. I don’t rememberr multiple newspaper articles about Valance and McGrath or Conway’s or The Quill or Larry Murphy’s – though Ross O’Carroll Kelly did ensure coverage for the closure of Kiely’s in Donnybrook.
Pubs close all the time. Drive around the country and you will see closed and shuttered pubs in every town and village. There was no hue and cry when they shut their doors.
And what about all the nightclubs which are no more? Sloopy’s, Zhivago, Barbarella’s, Flamingos, Blinkers, Peekers and Rumours.
Venues, like the Olympic Ballroom, McGonigles, the Top Hat. All gone.
There are things we should save, of course there are.
We should have saved Wood Quay, not just for its importance, but because it would be a massive tourist draw now.**
We should save the old Kevin Street Garda station because parts of the building are 1,000 years old.
And we should have saved the Manhattan. If the George Bernard Shaw is or was a valuable asset, the Manhattan was priceless.
A night on the piss and breakfast in the Manhattan. Hard to beat.
Auntie May would make sure you had your fry up in the company of other revellers, taxi drivers at the end of their shift and, maybe, U2.
But it was let die in its sleep, without anyone grieving around it, without a protest, without an obituary.
So goodbye to the George Bernard Shaw. Gone but not yet forgotten.
Toner’s. No wonder a man like Peter O’Toole, who knew his pints, like it there.
Mind you if they go near Toner’s or Byrne’s of Galloping Green with a sledge hammer, they’ll have me to deal with. There IS a limit,.
Those pubs are the Newgrange of drinking with your mates, the Ceide Fields of a few scoops, the Skellig Islands of creamy pints of Guinness.
Don’t touch them!
**(Saving Wood Quay and turning it into a tourist attraction would not, I believe, have gone down well with some of the regulars at the GBS. Many of the complaints about its impending closure focus on the number of hotels being built in the city to accommodate tourists. Too many, we’re told. There is a solution. We should hire a team of uniformed Tourist Prevention Agents who can walk around the city telling anyone they suspect of being a visitor to f*** off and robbing their ‘phones. That should rid us of the need for any more hotels.)