Irish Pubs in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands, visited by Irish Pubs Global, has an extraordinary oddball and interesting collection of Irish Pubs.   Generally they are small, individualistic, leased and run as quasi ‘lifestyle’ businesses by people who have ‘dropped-out’ from Northern Europe  – or who have taken early retirement, attracted by the tropical climate. Standards and quality vary enormously. 

And while fragmented, this is an interesting and profitable market. As a  group of Spanish Islands, there is little connectivity between places like Lanzorote, Grand Canaria and Tenerife as examples  – so the pub groups are very much on an island-to-island basis. That said. clearly there is scope for owners and managers to collectively work together. Between all the islands,  there over 130 plus Irish Pubs – no one is exactly sure, likewise there is a grey area as to what constitutes an ‘ Irish Pub’. Likewise there are several Irish Clubs and Societies and a menu of activities around St Patricks Day.

Tom and Suzie Mooney own McSorleys at Puerto Calero in Lanzorote.  Here there is no grey area.  They are serial pub owners and consumate professionals.  Their latest pub – essentially a retirement business for them – at  Puerto Callero.  Its an interesting and well run business with personality and style. They have a unique client base in this yachting marina – most recently Damian Foxhall from Kerry.  Damian is running the Group Ama French Ocean Racing Team who are using Puerto Callero as their Winter training base in preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in Alicante October 2011 and finishes in Galway July 2012.

The pub Manager is Clodagh Deegan from Rathfeakle,  just outside Limerick.  Tom puts great confidence in her, where she ‘cut-her-teeth’ running an Irish pub for over 10 years in California.  This is some compliment from from Tom, a ‘hard-core’ Dubliner and quick to put Limerick down. He  is now 10 years in the Canaries, and has come a long way from Macken Street in Dublin and Sandymount where he grew up – having started school in the Star of the Sea National School and then Westland Row.  Growing up in the shadow of Landsdowne Road, he retains a passion for rugby and keeps in close contact with Ireland.

Tom’s wife and Partner Suzie is from Plymouth in England. They met in the historical Barbican Quarter at Plymouth Sailing School (as a pure coincidence, your IPG reporter taught sailing there). Their first big break there came when took over a pub there and Kitty O’Hanlon’s was born.( named after Tom’s grandmother).  “We started with almost nothing”,  friends gave us credit and fitted out the pub – we said we would pay within 3 months but things went so well we paid in a month”.

Their first pub in Lanzorote was Mulligans in Puerto Carmen..  Mulligans is now run by Joe Meade from Dublin  – and is now probably the largest pub on the islands.

Tom is a  lively and engaging personality. He has strong individualistic and entrepreneurial traits, typical of the Irish Pub Owner. He simply gets on with it. “The brewers” he says . “are like well run machines going back hundreds of years, you can learn a lot from them”  The cogs just keep turning and they keep going again and again he added. ” But they know the business and you can learn from their experience and professionalism in how they revamp, change management and reinvent pubs every few years to keep them buzzing and alive”.

Irish Pubs Global with Tom Mooney, owner of McSorleys, Clodagh Deegan ( Manager) and Enda O'Coineen

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