Clontarf has for centuries enjoyed a reputation of excellence for the quality of its seafood. The ascendancy classes of the 18th century loved to ride out to Clontarf in their carriages to savour the wonderful, fresh oysters served in the local taverns. In those days the village boasted a plentiful supply both of daily catches from the bay and locally grown oysters.
The Emergence of The Sheds Fishing Village
The original village of Clontarf consisted of one street leading to Clontarf Castle, Castle Avenue, and the estate lands with a number of dwellings scattered around it. Gradually as the native population grew a number of makeshift dwellings were erected in what was to become the Sheds Fishing Village.
These people were engaged in fishing, harvesting oysters and in the drying and curing of fish. It was a tough life but it was a common enough occupation in all coastal towns, and it provided a livelihood for many local families.
The Lead Mine
A lead mine was discovered here in 1756 and this industry provided valuable employment for the local people. However, it remained active only for a short time, as there was much opposition on the contention that effluent leaking from the lead mines was poisoning the bay.
The 19th Century Sheds Village
By the mid-nineteenth century, the Sheds artisan village was beginning to take shape. Fishing was still an important local occupation but following a relaxation of the Penal Laws and Catholic Emancipation, the native people were once more beginning to advance themselves within society.
The Local Authority engaged in local house building programmes. The people now could learn other trades and if their families could provide finance, further education was a possibility. So a thriving new community was beginning to take shape, a village within a village, the Sheds Fishing Village.
The Sheds Pub – the great survivor
Much of Ireland’s social history is preserved to us by the longevity of its licensed premises in that pubs have been sociologically involved in the creation and preservation of that history by virtue of their role as ‘community service stations’. In the Sheds Fishing Village we are fortunate to have such a bastion of social culture in the presence of ‘Connolly’s, The Sheds Pub’.
James Gerald Mooney – the creator of the Mooney pub empire – first licensed this pub in 1845 as both a hotel and tavern. Our current hosts, the Connolly family have been here since Monaghan man, Peter Connolly, paid £7,750 for this pub in 1927. This old oasis of longevity is one of Dublin’s most charming and convivial licensed premises.