Dick Mack’s Pub: From Grocery Store To Best Whiskey Bar in Ireland
by: Peter White
Fourth generation operator of Dick Mack's Pub, Finn MacDonnell (left) and author Peter White
Dick Mack’s Pub was opened by Tom MacDonnell in 1899 and three generations later, it is a wholly atmospheric experience located in the heart of Dingle, Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. Tom, who was stationmaster at Tralee and Dingle Light Railway & Tramway opened the bar in order to provide light refreshments to its clientele and also operated a grocery and general store up until his death in 1938. After Tom’s death the pub was taken over by his son Richard MacDonnell who established a successful boot store. It was then that the pub became known as Dick Mack’s and his name was put above the door, a ‘k’ added for aesthetic reasons.
I became involved with the pub in November 2012 when after a thoroughly miserable Sunday’s hillwalking with the Dingle Hillwalking Club where the rain was blowing sideways, I returned home, had a quick shower and went looking for a quiet drink in the town where my mother had lived for about 7 years at that point. I had acquired a love of whiskey through my membership of the Irish Whiskey Society (IWS) and indeed had approached other pubs in the town previously to see whether they would expand their whiskey selection but surprisingly enough, none of them were really interested. However, at that point interest in whiskey and Irish whiskey in particular was very rare and this was probably true of most pubs in the country. Indeed, every bar in the town had the usual limited choice of whiskey but I despaired of ever having a decent selection to choose from. In fact, I just didn’t drink whiskey in Dingle owing to the dearth of selection and not being a beer drinker, stuck to Coca Cola.
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