This year marks the end of the 44 year relationship between The Boyne Pub and the Boston GAA. The pub has been a meeting place for the Boston GAA over the last 44 years and has become synonymous with the GAA over that time. Proprietor, Conor Hoey, and his wife, Kathleen, having decided to sell the pub are moving on to a new phase in their lives.
Conor has been the owner of the premises since 1990. He took a career break from Kildare County Council where he worked as a surveyor and left Williamstown, County Meath, in April 1987. After arriving in Boston, Conor worked with New England Power Company, and also did a few nights a week behind the bar of what was then known as The Stadium. At the time, the bar was managed by John Green of Craughwell, County Galway. Hugh and Martin Bligh were the owners. The pub was previously owned by Bill Curley from 1970 until 1981, and was doing business as The Horse and Hound when the Bligh's took over. In April 1990 the bar came up for sale and Conor took the opportunity to purchase the bar in December that year.
Conor was involved with Castletown GAA Club in Meath so having the GAA as a regular customer was natural fit. The GAA had been meeting at The Boyne since the Bill Curley days, and after Conor took over, the arrangement remained the same. The bar also sponsored local Brighton based clubs, St. Pat's Gaelic Football Club and St. Columbkilles GFC, during Conor's tenure. Conor did not change the name until 1993, naming it after the famous river that flows through his native county. It was a whole new challenge, which included two renovations since Conor took over. The first was in 1993 and then again in 2007.
Conor met his wife of 14 years, Kathleen Sheehy, in Boston and together they formed an ideal partnership to run the bar. Kathleen worked in the food service business with the Aramark company, and got involved with the bar. In 2009 she resigned to work full time at the Boyne, and naturally ran the food end of things. Kathleen's expertise in culinary matters were foremost for the countless functions and banquets hosted by The Boyne over the years.
Conor and Kathleen have had unique perspective on the comings and goings to and from Ireland in their time as owners of The Boyne. Over the years, they have seen thousands of young Irish come to the pub on big registration nights, youngsters whose first introduction to Boston was through The Boyne - in some respects a mini Ellis Island of sorts you could say. With so many of the arrivals to the city coming through The Boyne to register with their clubs, the name of the bar was immediately recognizable to people in Ireland. When Conor or Kathleen traveled home on visits, people have mentioned that they or people they know had "signed up" in The Boyne
Conor and Kathleen have also seen many officials of the Boston GAA serve their time as officers in The Boyne. While Conor has been in charge of the pub, there have been six chairmen of the board running the oftentimes lively weekly meetings in the downstairs function room. Joe Lydon, John McDevitt, Jim Grealish, Bernie Connaughton, John Farrell, and John Cunningham "have been great to work with," said Conor. Conor continued, "I have always had a great relationship with chairmen and board officers. It is sad to see it end, I'll miss that part of it and everybody involved."
Conor and Kathleen related how they have been very lucky to have had such wonderful employees over the years, and also how they have got to become an integral part of the local community. Getting involved with Little League, The Board of Irish Trade, and being involved in the local Brighton/Allston community has allowed them to get to know a lot of great people and be involved in the local community.
According to Conor the last 24 years "has been a great run for us. We could not have asked for anything better." The same can be said for those of us involved in the local GAA too. We would like to wish you both the best as you move into the next chapter of your lives.
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