It was 50 years ago today…

On this day 50 years ago, April 19, 1974 Clonliffe Harriers opened the club bar. This was a bold move by the clubs officers and committee, in particular the club president Harry Cooney, secretary Larry O’Reilly and treasurer Colm Brennan, geared towards providing a social place for the clubs members and also to raise much-needed funds to assist with the lowering of the club’s debt. The original bar, as the more seasoned club members will recall, was situated under the ‘old Clonliffe stand’. The ‘kitting out’ of the new bar was overseen by the clubs officers with furnishings and carpets funded by the opening of a life membership scheme. (above picture from Dominic Branigan’s History of Clonliffe shows Harry Power doing his bit.)

The bar was the venue for many a Clonliffe club night, be that a celebration of the club winning a major national title, or one of the many social occasions: the club cake race night, with Frank White’s thirst inducing chicken curry a particular favourite, and of course the club’s centenary year opening on New Year’s Day 1986 with hot whiskeys sponsored by Irish Distillers. The original club bar also saw many a lively debate on a Thursday night after the traditional pack run, a certain Mr. P. Keane was a particularly fine member of the Clonliffe debating team.

Back in those days the bar only opened on Thursdays and Sundays. Thursdays were largely club affairs with Sundays drawing in the deeper pockets of our Santry neighbours! This all assisted greatly in lowering the club’s debt and financing the clubs athletics activities. The old bar remained in situ for some 21 years until the opening of the new (current) clubhouse in September 1995.

So 50 years ago saw “Tricky Dickie” Nixon resign as president of the USA, West Germany winning the World Cup, the Rubik cube was born, the blockbuster disaster movie ‘the Towering Inferno’ had Dubliners queueing outside every cinema in the city, it was glam rock and the opening of the Clonliffe bar. A vintage year indeed.