‘Best Irish Pub in the World’ competition entry: Dennehy’s Marina Bar, Gran Canaria
It sits among the yachts in the sunny Puerto de Mogan, but has an atmosphere just like your local at home
‘If you miss your flight it becomes a travel agency. If you lose your passport it is the consular office. If you are unlucky enough to need a doctor or hospital, that is arranged in double quick time.’
The Irish Times’ Generation Emigration project is on the hunt for the best Irish pub in the world outside Ireland. The following is one of the entries we’ve received so far. To read more, or find out how to nominate your favourite Irish pub abroad, click here.
Many of the Irish pubs in tourist places around the world, particularly in Spain, tend to be sad affairs, adorned with shamrocks, leprechauns and shillelaghs, with paddywhackery music playing all day. The Marina Bar in beautiful Puerto de Mogan on the south west coast of Gran Canaria is completely different. It sits in the middle of the marina after which it is named, overlooking the yachts moored in the sunny harbour. It does have its shamrocks and leprechauns and Irish music, but the atmosphere is just like your local at home.
It is presided over by Liam Dennehy, his son Billy and daughter Sylvia, who could not do enough for you. It immediately becomes HQ for the duration of the holiday. If you fail to appear for breakfast or coffee by noon you get a phone call to see if everything is ok. Cork accents abound and although each of the proprietors speak excellent Spanish, when I arrive I’m always greeted by “hello boy how are they all in Carrk”.
Every problem is there to be surmounted and solved. If you miss your flight it becomes a travel agency. If you lose your passport it is the consular office. If you are unlucky enough to need a doctor or hospital, that is arranged in double quick time. If some tourist is unfortunate enough to shuffle off this mortal coil whilst on holidays, Billy cuts through the Spanish red tape to ensure a speedy repatriation of the body, as well as minding the bereaved.
The food and drink are superb. Pints (not half litres) of the black stuff are available and on Friday night bacon and cabbage is on the menu, often cooked by a Moroccan chef. There are four large televisions inside carrying all Irish sport, particularly rugby, as well the UK championship and Spanish La Liga matches. When Munster play Leinster it’s as good as being in Thomand park with all the roaring and shouting. It is closed on Sunday but All Ireland matches are always available on the two screens on the terrace where you can sit and sip your own wine.
The place is phenomenally busy and sometimes it feels like the set of Cheers, with people of diverse nationalities coming and going all day. The Spanish bar staff who have been there since it opened in 1985 speak English with a slight Cork accent.
What makes it the best Irish bar outside Ireland is that it is just like your local transposed to sunny Mogan. The craic, the banter, the slagging and the constant leg pulling makes it feel you are at home, except you are dressed in shorts, t-shirt and sandals in the middle of January.
Think your favourite Irish pub abroad could claim the title of Best Irish Pub in the World (Outside Ireland)? Tell us about it by entering the competition here.