This pub has changed its name and ownership many times over the years. It was known locally as the “Cut Throats” after a serious incident occurred on the premises back in the late fifties.
It was known as the West End Bar and owned by the Maddens, who sold it to a Belfast man George McCarron in 1969.
Apart from pulling pints George also had an organ behind the bar and conducted many a sing song for the locals. During his time there the Lourdes Brass Band used part of the premises as their band room, having been founded in the old St Patrick’s Boys School in Scarlet Street by Father Kevin Connolly and Jack Reilly.
In 1970 the pub was sold to John ‘Jake’ Peppard, who added a singing lounge and renamed the place ‘Jake’s Hideaway’.
The resident band comprised Raymond Greene, Tony Cassidy and Raymond White. Local ballad group Traveling John played some of their first gigs there. Internationally renowned guitarist Gary Moore impressed the locals with his darts skills when he dropped in, with Brush Shields, before they played with Skid Row in Blessed Oliver’s Youth Club across the road.
In 1974 the lounge was renamed The Talk of the Town with Julianstown man Pat King in charge.
It was later taken over by the McCluskey family and they renamed it The Wagon Wheel. In the Drogheda Independent of 1982 the Wagon Wheel was advertising ‘all pints £1’. During this time it was a popular stopping off point for the staff of pirate radio station Boyneside Radio, who were based nearby in Donaghy’s Mill.
The pub was renamed Knights Bar when it was bought by Jim McDonald, who had worked in the music industry in the UK and one of the features of the bar, at that time, was a suit of armour, similar to that worn by knights in jousting contests.
The pub was renamed Bensons when passed to Brian Browning and it became one of the more popular entertainment venues in the town and Brian’s involvement with Drogheda United saw the pub become a popular spot for football supporters. An off license was also added at this time.
The name changed again to O’Grady’s when the lease was taken over by Noel Cowley, who had been an extremely popular host when he ran the nearby O’Casey’s, and Benny Farrelly, who was well known in the entertainment business and also had considerable experience in the bar trade.
The pub was then run by Kells man Mark O’Neill who, over the years, has had considerable experience running pubs, including the Big Tree in Clogherhead, The Poet’s Rest in Slane, The Grangegeeth Inn and the Cosy Corner in Drogheda.
The pub is now back in the Browning family and has recently undergone an extensive renovation that has to be seen to be believed. Brian and staff look forward to welcoming back some fimilar faces from Bensons along with new customers to Donaghy’s, Drogheda’s No. 1 for sports & entertainment.