Dick Mack’s is one of the most iconic pubs in Dingle. It’s a family-run business that has combined tradition with innovation since Tom MacDonnell opened it in 1889.
Finn MacDonnell is Tom’s great-grandson. He now runs the bar and his growing interest in whiskey has led to the pub’s latest innovation.
“In November 2012, Peter White from the Irish Whiskey Society was in the bar telling me how difficult it was to get good whiskey in Dingle,” says Finn. “His passion won me over. He brought a few bottles for me to try the next time he was in town and before long; he was bringing three or four new bottles to the pub every week.”
The very act of stocking the shelves with whiskey awakened people’s curiosity. “By July, we had 30 to 40 bottles and people were asking lots of questions about them,” says Finn.
So many that Finn decided it was time he and his staff learned more about whiskey.
[pull_quote_center]We asked representatives from different companies to come to have us taste their wares and tell us about their product.[/pull_quote_center]
Dick Mack’s now stocks 154 whiskeys. “We find that nine out of ten people coming into the bar don’t know what they want to drink so we recommend things to them,” says Finn. “Others know exactly what they want and we aim to have it for them.”
Dick Mack’s was voted Irish Whiskey Pub of the Year in 2014 and 2015. “Winning the award was great,” says Finn. “We got a lot of coverage in the media and recognition from others in the trade. We are now recommended by other businesses. They tell people to visit us if they’re coming to Dingle.”
Winning the award the first year came as a surprise but the team at Dick Mack’s worked hard to secure the double. They developed a whiskey menu to make it easier for customers to browse through their selection. They also developed their own special whiskey drinking glasses and every whiskey now sold in the pub is served in one.
Finn is keen to develop further and travels regularly to build links with whiskey producers. In the three years since having that conversation with whiskey-loving Peter White, he has developed a passion for whiskey. “It’s not just the taste of it,” he says. “It’s the people involved and all the culture and tradition behind it. There’s a whole lot more to whiskey.”
[quote_box_center]For more information on Dick Mack’s, visit their Facebook page.[/quote_box_center]