Patricia Brennan along with Seamus O'Domhnaill, cathaoirleach, Donegal Co Council, Martin Gibbons, chairman Donegal Vintners, Padraic Mc Gann, president VFI, Shane Smyth, Bundoran tourism manager.
Circa 400 members of the Donegal Vintners’ Association were joined by colleagues nationwide in Bundoran’s Great Northern Hotel to pay tribute to Patricia Brennan and her late sister Nan who spent a lifetime behind The Criterion Bar counter on Bundoran’s main street.
Known locally as “Brennan’s”, the bar, a unique oasis of calm, cool pints and conversation famously refused to be anything other than just that - a good bar. There was no tv, no singing (memorably Phil Coulter was once politely told to hush) and no swearing. A little piece of heaven.
"Now this is the way we used to do it 55 years ago," Patricia tells Padraic McGann, president of the VFI at the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran Picture: Matt Britton
Brennan's closed last year but last night (Thursday) the contribution made by the sisters and the sheer wonder of their superb pub were recognised by way of a very fitting gesture from the association who were gathering for their annual Donegal celebration.
Over the years Brennan’s hosted national and international politicians and enjoyed their company as well as the company of religious, national and international business leaders, surfers, sailors, fishermen and the ordinary woman or man who wanted to enjoy a quiet pint. “In fact, there was an evening when we had both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste here at the bar together,” recalled Patricia.
Huge numbers turned out last night to pay tribute to Patricia while remembering her late sister Nan. As one local remarked: “You never saw one without the other.”
The politicians and the political hopefuls who are going to contest the local elections in May were there too as were practically every section of the community.
Many tributes were paid to Patricia including very complimentary words by Seamus O’Domhnaill, cathaoirleach Donegal County Council, the president of the VFI, Padraic McGann and the chairman of the Donegal Vintners' Association, Martin Gibbons.
Emyard Brennan of Diageo presents Patricia Brennan with some great memories of her life behind the counter with hers sister Nan Picture: Matt Britton
*See our Tuesday and Thursday papers for further coverage.