55 Irish Street
– Has a Historic Pub Interior
– Planning permission was granted in 2022 to convert it into a restaurant
It’s just possible that by the year 2,000 there’ll be no public houses such as have been known for generation after generation – good honest working men’s drinking bars, with traditional views and values. Perhaps the current trends towards bar restaurants, wine bars, licensed hotels and yuppie lounges will have wiped out the corner pub, or the standard saloon bar.
Such a scenario is far from being mere fancy, but those who fear changes of the kind envisaged above will find comfort in Irish Street, Dungannon: in McGrath’s bar, to be more precise, because here, unconsciously preserved and safe from the insidious advances of the plastic bar movement, is a no-nonsense, old-fashioned, working-class pub.
Here you’ll find no pub grub, no frills, no trendy innovations. The old photos around the walls of the Dungannon of years ago and the drawing of the old Market Square would be more emblematic of McGrath’s values.
This is not to say that the pub is making a virtue of necessity and is afraid, or unable, to move with the times!!No, the truth is simply that its loyal customers enjoy it just as it is, and could easily go elsewhere in the town for disco pub entertainment or bar food service.
McGrath’s was formerly the Central Bar, and before that it was Cole’s Bar, and before that McKenna’s.In the days of Cole’s ownership, it was a bar and tannery, and the licence stretches back IO before the turn of the century.
It’s very much a sporting bar and has very close connections with the county G.A.A. team. When Tyrone got to the All Ireland Final in 1986, TV cameras recorded the local response in McGrath’s, and you’ll still see a large colour photo of the ’86 team on It’s a kind of focal point the pub wall for Tyrone Supporters.
Also in the bar is a massive cup contested by local pubs in G.A.A., and McGrath’s was the 1989 winner, so they can play a bit as well as support. Further attractions in this one- room pub are pub quiz encounters, fiddle and banjo traditional music on Thursday and Saturday evenings, and, perhaps best of all, the crack in a pub that has resisted the changes that are going on all around it.
Work is the curse of the drinking class.