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oldest swigger Ireland's oldest regular (104) thrilled to be able to get a pint again

"I remember seeing Laurel and Hardy out and about. I used to go for a swim in Bray and they'd be around"

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Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire.
Photo by Steve Humphreys

Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Aged 104 Pat Elliot probably lays claim to being Ireland’s oldest regular pub-goer – and the sprightly centenarian declares he’s thrilled to be back indoors drinking pints and shorts.

And there to welcome him in his favourite watering hole in Dún Laoghaire, is perhaps one of the country’s oldest barmen, Maurice O’Loughlin.

Maurice turned 86 on Friday and Pat popped in to celebrate, while the Sunday World presented a birthday cake to mark the big occasion in O’Loughlin’s pub.

The pub on George’s Street has been on the go almost as long as the two lads – it was first opened by the family in 1929, while Pat was born on March 19 in 1917 and Maurice on July 30 in 1935.

Some local wags have even remarked it’s the Irish version of the movie Cocoon.

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Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. In the backround is 23 year old barman Sam O'Loughlin. Maurice is his Great Uncle. Eugene Masterson was on hand with the candles.
Photo by Steve Humphreys

Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. In the backround is 23 year old barman Sam O'Loughlin. Maurice is his Great Uncle. Eugene Masterson was on hand with the candles. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. In the backround is 23 year old barman Sam O'Loughlin. Maurice is his Great Uncle. Eugene Masterson was on hand with the candles. Photo by Steve Humphreys

“I was in the grocery trade and then started here in 1960,” explains Maurice. I’ve always loved working in this pub and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the town and in the bar.

“We closed in March last year and we now allow the older customers indoors again this week. We have the open air out the back for the younger ones.

“It was very hard, the initial closure, as I was used to working seven days a week in this game. I would work maybe eight or nine hours a day.”

Maurice lives in an apartment in the pub building and is a bachelor.

“I never married, no one would have me,” he says with a laugh.

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His nephew Michael is one of the owners, while his grandnephew Sam (23) works behind the bar.

Pat hails from the Falls Road in Belfast.

“My father was an iron moulder and worked for a company in the east side of Belfast,” he recalls.

“His name was Harold Elliot and a lot of people thought with a name like that he was Protestant. I think he was originally Scottish, and I think may have been a ­convert to being Catholic, but he never spoke about it. He has a cousin, a Stewart, who was welterweight champion of Scotland.

“I was originally an accountant and then got a job as a salesman with Del Monte tinned fruit. I went to Derry and met a Donegal girl, that was during the war because I remember smuggling in the tinned fruit from Donegal to Derry and then on to Belfast.”

His wife, Sheelagh McLoone, was a champion Irish dancer.

“She would be a cousin of Brian Friel, the playwright,” be reveals. “I was married in Belfast. That was in 1938. Sheelagh was 19 when we married, I was 21.”

The couple had four children, all of whom moved to England. Sheelagh sadly died at the age of 38 from kidney disease and Pat did not remarry. He has numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

“Working for Del Monte as a salesman brought me all over Ireland and that’s how I eventually came to Dublin, which I hadn’t been in before,” he notes.

“I remember seeing Laurel and Hardy out and about in Dublin back in the 1950s, when they stayed in the Royal Marine Hotel (in Dún Laoghaire). I used to go for a swim in Bray and they would be around. The Sunday night show was a big night out and I saw a lot of them, the Ink Spots, the big band with Joe Loss, and others.”

Pat had other passions in life.

“I used to play Gaelic football and ­soccer. I was with a few junior sides. I used also love cars and had one second hand one, I can’t think of the make of it, but it was a big one that was my pride and joy,” he reflects.

“I used to live near Croke Park, but I never went to a match when I lived there. I used to come down with friends and Belfast on a Sunday with nothing open on the Sabbath, so I preferred to live in Dublin. A sister of mine also married a Dubliner and moved to Terenure.”

He recalls the Troubles in the North: “I was in Dublin when the Troubles started. I remember when the British army ­arrived and were ­welcomed with open arms. I recall having a conversation with a lieutenant who’d just arrived and he said ‘we’re used to dealing with w*gs where we were before, you Irish all talk alike, we don’t know who’s who but I can tell you we won’t be the meat in the sandwich’, but it materialised they were.”

Pat had to get metal plates into his leg after breaking it during a fall.

“I used to hear bombs all the time and I had my plate in the leg and anytime I’d come through an army checkpoint they thought I was carrying ammunition in my leg and I was always delayed,” he smiles.

He eventually moved back to Dublin in 1998, to Glasthule near Dún Laoghaire.

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Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire.
Photo by Steve Humphreys

Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Barman Maurice O'Loughlin (right) celebtares his 86th birthday with customer Patrick Elliott from Glasthule who is already 104 years old at O'Loughlins Bar on Lower Georges Street Dun Laoghaire. Photo by Steve Humphreys

He turned 100 four years ago.

“I get the medal from the President every year and I got the €2,500 when I turned 100,” he smiles. “I drank it in here. Maurice was the benefactor.

“I was delighted to get the vaccine. I was the first on the list with my doctor. His secretary said: ‘You’re going to be one of the first in Ireland to get it’.

“O’Loughlin’s is my second home. I used to be able to drink maybe five or six pints. But not anymore. I have the odd one, but Black Bush is my drink now.”

Lockdown has been a different experience for him, but he sees the funny side.

“I may have been in Mountjoy, with the amount of free drink, free gym, free beer, free food, free drugs I was getting,” he chuckles. “A lot of neighbours helped. A lot of people complain but my attitude was that it was for your health’s sake you were locked in. We were well looked after.

“I get my own messages and I have a cane to help me around. I do all my own cooking, I don’t have a carer. I love coming in here and it’s great to be back.”

Michael stresses that both Pat and Maurice are great for their ages.

“Maurice comes in and does a shift, and his mind is fantastic,” he beams. “Pat is incredible too. He walks up every day from Glasthule, which is a good run.”

The O’Loughlin family are from Thurles Co Tipperary and the pub, which is known locally as ‘Lockie’s’, has had numerous celebrity visitors, including Lisa Stansfield, Ricky Ross, Ronnie Drew when he was alive and Liam Ó Maonlaí.

“There’s a mixture of people going to the old bar but now the young people are coming in in their droves to the beer garden,” he beams.

“We got a tented canopy for the beer garden, that has worked a wonder and half the garden is open. We did a complete overhaul out there and have TVs out there. Guinness helped by putting in a coldroom. Two lads from Moldova built the bar out there in two hours.

“Pizzas and food never occurred to us to do indoor drinks as we didn’t even have a till, just notes and coins. We now have one as we were losing custom with people who only had cards.

“We had a great run of six or seven weeks of good weather, which was great for the Euros when that was on.”

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