SAVEOURPUBS - The Maypole in Holywood

25 August 2020

SAVEOURPUBS - The Maypole in Holywood

Brian Carty, Licensee of The Maypole in Holywood - known locally as 'Ned's'

Since 1907, the well beloved Maypole Bar in Holywood has only known two owners.


The most recent of which, the Carty family, have taken great pride in doing things the traditional way since 1967.

“It’s not an eating house, it’s not a food house, it’s not a pool house. It’s a simple pub. Of which there are very few left.”

Licensee and director Brian Carty, now 74, fondly remembers following in his father’s footsteps at the age of 8 in a former premises the Carty family owned before moving out to Holywood and The Maypole.

But since the doors were locked in March, things have changed drastically for the family and its employees.

“I had a thriving, healthy business before this. The past five months have been very monotonous. I’m not used to not getting up and going to my work- interacting with people.”

“It has been my life. It’s not just a job or a business. It has been my life.”

The Maypole, like many others, prides itself on being a meeting place for their local community. Something that many who rely on it for social interaction are now trying to adjust to living without.

“The traditional pub is not a place to go drinking. It is a social hub. If someone is looking for a joiner or an electrician or a plasterer, they ask the man behind the bar.”

“Everyone comes in and throws their troubles at me. You aren’t just a bar man- you’re a psychiatrist, a counsellor and a philosopher.”

“I have always run that house on a strict basis. We are known far and wide for taking no nonsense. From the labourer to the high court judge, everyone is treated the same.”

Despite “the taxman still taking his share”, and the obvious emotion in his voice, Mr Carty is steadfast in his resolve to adapt to the changing environment around him and his business.

He knows all too well that public health comes first, but wants the chance to prove themselves able to operate safely just like any other hospitality business.

“We won’t open unless we can do it right.”

Hospitality Ulster has outlined to NI Ministers and MLAs that many business owners of non-food pubs have been left without any hope and unless they are reopened soon, a financial package from the Executive is now urgently needed to save many businesses employing thousands across Northern Ireland despite hotels, restaurants, and pubs serving food operating safely since 3 July.