Teach O’Hora, Main St, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo has held an alcohol licence for approx. 150 years, the previous owners being the Murtagh’s who owned it as the The Central Bar and the Boles family owned it as the Congo & Lucky Star. At that time they would have sold groceries, clothes, newspapers as well as drinks.
In 1966, Aiden and May O’Hora from Bohola, 5 miles from Kiltimagh, bought the Congo & Lucky Star from the Hibernian Bank, now known as the Bank of Ireland, as it had been burnt in a fire and was in bankruptcy. Renovations were carried out by local builder Jimmy Duddy and his apprentice Thomas Malee; a tiled floor was put in the front bar with a fireplace and a small lounge area to the back. The bar opened as Aiden O’Hora’s on the 29th of May 1967.
Further extensions followed; the garden area being roofed by Durkan Bros. builders and in 1969 the Coillte Rooms opened. Gerry Walsh, a cousin of Aiden’s and owner of the Raftery Rooms across the road, and Aiden both ran their “singing lounges”, as they were known at the time, for years drawing crowds from near and far. The Crystal Ballroom was operating then and was close to both bars, and drew locals, visitors and people from the surrounding towns. The premises next door on Main St, known as Fordes drapery and shoe shop closed approx. 1967, Aiden bought it and extended the bar to cater for about 350 people with a 40ft long bar.
During the summer season there would be live music for 90 consecutive nights providing many young people with jobs serving behind the bar, floor staff and cleaning glasses. Aiden and May’s family of 6 all worked in the bar, and in 1975 Marty, the eldest, joined the family business and along with his mother, father and Jimmy Sweeney ran the bar from then until 1996.
In 1996 Aiden and May retired from the business and Marty and his wife Marie took it over and did a major renovation. Local builder Seamus Higgins and his team did the work and converted the front and back bars into one, a complete transformation took place.
The design was by Marty’s brother John, who also sourced a lot of the contents in London. Included was a life size cow which is the main feature behind the bar and always a talking point, as well as having lots of photographs taken, and on March 8th 1996 Teach O’Hora opened it’s doors. Also on the same night Marty’s cousin Paddy Walsh opened the famous nightclub the N17, again this was a hugely popular club in the 90s and like their fathers before them, both ran their businesses for years side by side.
Later on in 1996 a small kitchen was opened and food became part of the business as well as an off-licence on James St, which are still in operation today, thanks to our staff and loyal customers.
Marty and Marie’s family Rachel, Denise and Eamon also worked in the bar over the years along with many locals since the opening in 1996.
Jimmy Sweeney from Laragan, Balla joined Aiden and May O’Hora from PJ Gilmartin’s wholesale bottlers in 1968, and was part of the family for 28 years.
Dedicated to his job from the start, he trained all the staff and was a welcoming figure behind the bar at all times. His personality and good humor made him the unique person he was, his memory for names, his wit and funny sayings, “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here!”, made him one of the most popular people around town.
He completed the crossword daily, loved the interaction with people and going down to the Club Crystal Ballroom, later to the N17, to have the craic after work was something he enjoyed.
He worked for Marty and Marie from March 8th 1996 until Jan 1997, and is fondly remembered by all who knew him.