The Chicago Bar, Castleisland Opened on This Day in 1974

On the occasion of the opening of The Chicago Bar at No. 38 Main Street, Castleisland were from left: James ‘Buddy’ O’Sullivan, Terry Teahan, proprietor; Danny Pa Brosnan, Teddy Brosnan and Danny ‘The Belter’ Murphy. 1-10-1974
Danny ‘The Belter’ Murphy (left) and Steve Corkery pictured at the opening night of The Chicago Bar at No. 38 Main Street, Castleisland on Tuesday, October 1st 1974.
The Chicago Bar at No. 38 Main Street Castleisland before one of its most recent makeovers began. ©Photograph: John Reidy 3-3-2001

On this day, October 1st back in 1974, Mary Rose and Terry Teahan opened The Chicago Bar at 38 Main Street, Castleisland.

It was, The Kerryman reporter Eamon Horan wrote in an advert feature shortly after, the realisation of a long held dream for the couple.

Terry Teahan had spent the previous 17 years in Chicago – emigrating from Castleisland in 1957 and Mary Rose, a native of Macroom, had been there for 22 years.

Kerry and Irish Communities

During their Chicago years they were heavily involved in the affairs of the Irish and Kerry communities there.

Terry played football and hurling and Mary Rose played camogie. Terry won junior and senior football championship medals with the club, St. Mel’s in 1958 and ’59 and his hurling days were with the Chicago Shannon Rangers Hurling Club.

Both were also involved in the Festival of Kerry / Rose of Tralee, Chicago branch.

Moss Teahan’s Influence

The opening of The Chicago Bar was in no small way attributed to Terry’s brother Moss – who guided his younger brother through the choice and eventual purchase of the building at Lower Main Street.

Interestingly, as both Moss and Terry were bakers, the building once housed a bakery and Danny McCarthy told me during a chat in Old Church Lane one evening that he served his time there.

Envelope of Photographs

It was during a trip back to Castleisland a couple of years ago that Mary Rose gave me an envelope of photographs from the opening night of The Chicago Bar from that Tuesday evening, October 1st 1974.

It was an occasion which brought family and friends together and forged many more in the way that only a pub can – or could at that time.

Road Traffic Accident

The dream realised in October 1974 would end in tragedy in August 1979 when Terry was seriously injured in a road traffic accident on the Tralee Road just beyond the John A Wood quarry. He died on the following September 27th.

It was an accident in which his friend Paddy Cronin also died. God be good to them.

The collection of images here includes faces that many local people will remember and Mary Rose did their memory proud by writing the names on the backs of the each of the images.

Those were the days my friends.

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