Now under management of Dolan family
It’s one of the region’s best-known bars – a quaint, character-filled landmark premises in a glorious, idyllic setting – and now it’s facing into an exciting new era. Dalton’s Public House in Fuerty is under new management, having been recently purchased by Joe Dolan, a developer with strong Roscommon roots. The Dolan family – Joe’s brother Brendan, who lives in Ballyforan, is partnering on the project – have announced exciting expansion plans, involving the construction of a major new lounge and ten guest bedrooms. In partnership with them is their nephew, Damien (London). The project, which will create employment during and after the construction phase, is expected to be completed during 2020.
I’m sitting in Dalton’s Pub in Fuerty on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, chatting with the renowned bar’s new owner, Joe Dolan. An affable and experienced businessman, Joe, Brendan and Damien purchased the pub from the Gately family in May of this year. They are already up and running, business is great, and the Dolan family have been overwhelmed by the friendliness, welcoming nature and support of local people.
Joe Dolan has been a London-based businessman for many years, but his family are embedded in the community here in Roscommon. Born in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, Joe was a small boy when his family moved to Knockvicar in Co. Roscommon, and later to Roscommon Town. He is son of Kathleen and the late Dan Dolan. Kathleen still lives in Roscommon, while Joe has four siblings living in County Roscommon (and a sister in London).
The bar we are sitting in on this peaceful, warm afternoon is one of the best known in the area. It was made famous by previous proprietors Ann and Don Dalton, the latter now deceased. In more recent years it was purchased by the Gately family and continued to be a popular venue. The pub has always had that special character one associates with traditional Irish bars. And the new owners, their expansion plans notwithstanding, have no intention of changing that delightful character that people associate with this cosy premises.
Joe Dolan moved to London at 17 years of age, initially working in bars, later moving on to managing and finally owning a number of London pubs. Now aged 45, he says he “fell out of love with London” over the past year or so. The city was changing, crime seemed to be on the increase, and Joe just felt the time had come for him to base himself in a more rural location. “I felt I needed to be part of a community” he reflects. Initially he looked at purchasing a pub in rural England, before fate intervened and he googled ‘rural Ireland pubs’. Dalton’s in Fuerty presented itself. Joe was immediately interested. He contacted his brother (Brendan) and they set about researching the premises and the area. They liked what they discovered about the demographics, the people, the setting, the community. A few weeks later, they were the new owners.
Once he read about Dalton’s Pub online, Joe never looked back. He didn’t look at any other potential purchases, anywhere in Ireland.
“My vision for Dalton’s was formed instantly…in terms of its future development” he says.
That vision will involve retaining the existing bar in its current guise, while commencing a 2,000 square foot expansion as soon as possible – incorporating a large lounge area and ten bedrooms as guest accommodation.
The Dolan family have been hugely encouraged by the support they have received in this thriving local community. They are excited by the challenge of running this popular bar and in particular of expanding it into a destination venue.
We move outside to have some photographs taken. The pub has recently been painted – and is glowing. Passers-by in this friendly community hoot their car horns. The sun is splitting the stones and the visual backdrop is stunning. A bright, new chapter awaits for Dolan’s bar.
Joe Dolan is now living in Fuerty. He retains business interests in London, but he has found that rural idyll he was looking for.
“I was born in Leitrim but my heart is in Roscommon” he says as he looks forward to life in the heart of Roscommon.