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Neill's

M.J.O'Neill's

M.J.O'Neill's is a notable bar and restaurant in central Dublin. It has occupied 2 Suffolk Street and adjacent buildings, continuing round the corner into Church Lane. It is claimed there has been a tavern on the site for some three hundred years. From 1875 it was owned by the Hogan Brothers, until M.J. O’Neill bought and renamed the premises in August 1927.

The part in Church Lane was the site of a printing house, where William Butler published The Volunteers Journal and the Irish Herald in 1783, and in 1789 Arthur O’Connor published The Press, supporting Wolfe Tone’s republican views.

The corner structure is an impressive four-storey, vaguely of the Arts and Crafts Movement, red-brick and early twentieth century, with prominent Tudor-style projecting bay windows. There is a fine decorated iron three-dials clock on the Suffolk Street frontage. The building is protected and in a conservation area. Now, opposite the Dublin Tourist Centre, it is a fixture on the tourist trail and pub crawls.

The house has a mixed clientele. It is directly opposite Andrew Street Post Office, and near the shopping centre of Grafton Street. The discreet Church Lane door is convenient for the Bank of Ireland and other financial establishments in College Green. It is also the pub nearest to the Front Gate of Trinity College, Dublin and therefore attracting Arts undergraduates and academics. The original structure was divided into definite areas: a “cocktail bar” in the corner for the gentry, a public bar off Suffolk Street, and a back bar. In recent years the next-door premises in Church Lane have been added, as a carvery, and the interior has been opened up. A small snug, immediately inside the Church Lane entrance, was the significant venue for the “Fabians” of the early 1960s and for later left-wing students from Trinity College, Dublin.

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