Saturday, 20 June 2020

3 Kinnegar Road

Here is an establishment I have spent many happy hours in, ever since I've been old enough to enjoy a dram or two.

It is now the Dirty Duck Ale House.

The Dirty Duck is situated at the corner of Kinnegar Avenue and Kinnegar Road, at the esplanade in the garrison town of Holywood in County Down.

It enjoys a fine prospect overlooking Belfast Lough.

My father played here during his childhood at the rickety wooden jetty with his chums.

They swam and sailed in dinghies.

This licensed premises has changed its name five times.

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It was first opened as the Kinnegar Hotel in 1868, the proprietor being one Daniel Ship.

At the turn of the 19th century it changed hands and became the Kinnegar Bar.

Twenty years or so later, it was bought by Alexander Steen (whose name is inscribed on the gable in the old photograph) who restored its original name, although it was invariably known, quite simply, as Steen's.

I vaguely remember Fred Steen who, probably, was Alexander's son.

I think that at that period till the 1970s, the Inn was really a "drinking man's pub".

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This was the period when it became the Kinnegar Inn.

The bar's name changed, yet again, to The Clipper, in 1984.

Since then, it has changed hands several times.

I seem to recall that, at some stage, Sir John Graham had an interest in it; indeed he may have owned it.

The Grahams had a country house near Dromore.

When I was at Brackenber, they invited us to make use of their swimming-pool which, I think, was outdoors.

I have fond memories of the bar in the 1980s.

I particularly liked the cosy upstairs lounge bar with its banquette, red velour cushioned seating.

Occasionally my father and I enjoyed a drink there of a summer's evening, watching the boats coming up and down the lough.

First published in February, 2009.


Owen Polley said...

I've been in this bar a number of times, either for work meals, a pint of ale or with the girlfriend (not that the latter two are entirely incompatible). thanks for an interesting history lesson!

Anonymous said...

Presumably the Grahams had a Brackenber connection of some sort? It would seem odd to go all the way from Belfast to Dromore to swim.


Timothy Belmont said...

That I cannot say. As you say, I presume one or more of the Grahams went to BHS.

Anonymous said...

Used to nip in for lunch with my boss in the days when Sir John was - think I'm right? - behind the bar - late 80s. Nt a bad spot then and seems to have improved.

Irishlad said...

Smetime in the 90's a guy from North Belfast took over the running of it for a short period,it was he who changed the name to the Dirty Duck and introduced the real ales.I believe his name was McCreery or McCreedy...he took over from the guy who drove the Rolls and was fond of pink cardigans..his name escapes me.

Demetrius said...

Pity about the new name, going for what is now a routine title for many places and so very second hand. Quite what the origin was for this is an open question. I recall that around 70 plus years ago at Stratford on Avon there was a back street "Swan" named pub close to the theatre and used by actors. There were times when having a swift pint there before a performance one would see an actor who was due on stage shortly. The acting people called it the Dirty Duck to avoid people understanding that they needed one or a few before a performance. "A pint! A pint! My kingdom for a pint!" So to speak.

Anonymous said...

I remember this as Steens in the 50's and 60's.
It was Fred Steen who then owned it and he was very popular with the young teenage boys who he encouraged to row and sail.
They would be allowed in and we girls saw them hanging out of upstairs windows..