Catching up with the Irish Cultural Centre - Emmett Donovan, ICC Pub Manager


Local flavor is what a real Irish pub is all about. As Emmett Donovan comes on board as Pub Manager at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton, he is motivated by people’s enthusiasm for the pub and its potential for becoming a more regular destination for members and visitors. "Local" is the word for Emmett, right now, as he combines his experience in fostering dedicated staff, managing special events and reaching out to a local community to tap into the fantastic musicians and renowned bands in the ICC’s own backyard.

Already, his head is brewing with ideas for making the pub a place where more Irish bands are playing regularly and where local bands have a chance to build a following, too. In December, Emmett will be kicking off Sunday Blues Night at the ICC Pub with a top-notch, award-winning band. Thursday nights will be featuring a rotating schedule of local, non-Irish bands bringing a different sound to the entertainment.

ICC staff, members and visitors are really pleased with Emmett’s plans to broaden the music offerings. When one, twenty-something female musician who enjoys the Friday sesiun, now held in the McGettigan & Stewart Room, heard the news, she quickly responded, "great, there will be more entertainment on weekends, and I’ll have a nice place to hang out with my friends." Emmett grins at this idea of giving the pub a bit of a lift and making it a "meeting place for all Irish people." For the Centre to have its own lively pub makes perfect sense to him. As he sees it, "pub culture with its food, people and music is Irish culture."

Originally from Galway City, where he enjoyed the neighborhood feel of several pubs in the West End, Emmett is no stranger to the Irish Cultural Center of New England. Over the past nineteen years or so, he has enjoyed playing on the Centre’s fields and meeting up with friends from Ireland at the various games. With so many Irish sports fans around the Centre, Emmett plans on introducing regular sports entertainment and having replays of games broadcast in the Pub. He thinks this kind of regular activity will be part of the Pub’s "local draw as a place for a pint and good meeting."

Emmett is not thinking solely about the Irish sports fan and music-lover as he rethinks the pub menu and offerings. He’s also thinking creatively about folks who like special outings for outdoor dining or beer, whiskey and wine tastings. Come Summer, he’s planning on creating an outdoor dining facility. When folks are thinking of celebrating important occasions like weddings, anniversaries and receptions, he wants them to know that he is here at the ICC to help them plan that special function. He’d also love to share his knack for making raspberry mojitos and chocolate martinis on special pub nights.

From his viewpoint, Emmett describes a good night in a pub as being one "with good atmosphere, good entertainment, a good crowd and a good customer base, or following." He likes managing a pub where things are "buzzin" and lots of Irish are about, feeling comfortable and being open with each other." Over these next several weeks, Emmett is looking forward to creating that buzz about the ICC Pub. When asked how he’ll know he’s met his aim with ICC pub-goers, he says, "I’ll know them, and they’ll know me. People will be coming to their second home where they’ll know someone beside them, and there will be a friendliness about the place."

For more information about the ICC Pub and upcoming events at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England please visit www.irishculture.org or call 781-821-8291.

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