Our History

Brannigans is located on Cathedral Street which runs from Dublins iconic O’Connell Street to Marlbourough Street. The street as well as the pub has a long and rich history in Dublin folklore.

In 1803, Archbishop John Thomas Troy bought Lord Annesley’s townhouse on the corner of
Marlbourough Street and Elephant Lane, now called Cathedral Street and within sight of the city’s premier thoroughfare, Sackville Street, now Dublin’s O’ Connell Street. Here the Bishop planned to build on this location the new ‘Pro-Cathedral’ which was completed on 14 November 1825.

old irish map

Dublins very first Elephant

Many years before any Cathedral was built the street where Brannigans pub now stands got its
name from a very obscure source. Some 330 years ago, Dublin’s very first Elephant lived on then Elephant Lane, now known as Cathedral Street. The animal used to be brought across the River Liffey to nearby Parliament Street where people would pay to see the animal in a viewing booth. Unfortunately on the 17 th of June 1681, the poor beast died when the viewing booth caught fire causing the Elephant to perish. Dubliners from all over the city rushed to watch the fire and claim pieces of the charred Elephants remains. The owner of the Elephant tried his best to keep the onlookers away and contacted the nearby Royal College of Surgeons whom he sold the remains of the Elephant to. These doctors then undertook one of the first anatomy studies of an Elephant of its kind recorded in Ireland and England.

Irish Post office coin

The Post Office Tavern

The first recorded licenced premises at 9 Cathedral Street (then Elephant Lane) was back in 1854. The Post Office Tavern was run by James Kenny from 1854 and was part of a number of establishments dotted around the city bearing the same name. John Nagle became proprietor in 1875. Today, only Brannigan’s on Cathedral Street and The Duke Pub on Duke Street, Dublin 2 remain.

old picture moores pub
Thomas Moore and the GAA. It was in the early 1930’s when Thomas ‘Tommy’ Moore became the proprietor that Brannigan’s, then known as ‘The Moore House’, long love affair with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) began. Thomas Moore, originally from Kilkenny, was a well renowned individual amongst GAA circles especially the world of hurling. A gifted hurler himself Tommy Moore went on to become Chairman of Faughs GAA Club on the southside of Dublin for over 40 years. He became a recipient of the Hall of Fame Award and the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship trophy, the Tommy Moore Cup, is now named in his honour. It became normal practice through the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s for the newly crowned champions of the Liam McCarthy Cup to make a whistle stop at Moores to quench their thirst before making the long journey home. Moore also allowed the pub to be used as a makeshift clubhouse for Faughs GAA club when they had nowhere else to go. Tommy Moore sadly passed away in 1973 but the pub continued its strong association with sports and in particular the GAA when the McGeoghs became the owners and renamed the pub ‘The Goalpost’. The McCormack family have kept up the pubs strong tradition with the GAA. The pub is not to be missed on an All-Ireland Sunday where Brannigans is the first port of call for the thousands of supporters who have made the train and bus journey from the four provinces of Ireland.
Lugs Brannigan

James ‘Lugs’ Brannigan
When the current owners, the McCormack family, bought the pub in the late nineties they decided to rename the pub after the famous or infamous local Garda (policeman) James Christopher Brannigan better known as ‘Lugs’ Brannigan. As well as serving in the Gardai for over 40 years, Brannigan was a distinguished boxer, boxing referee and to many a legend and part of Dublin mythology due to him dishing out his own form of justice and his close relationship with the local people on his beat. Many a Dubliner who found himself fall foul to the law was given the option of being brought to the local Garda station and be booked or have it out man to man with ‘Lugs’. It became nearly a badge of honour in the Dublin underworld to earn a black eye from ‘Lugs’ Brannigan.

Brannigans Bar

Temple Bar

The Spire

O'Connel street


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