While roaming the streets of Boston, luck might find you at a gem of a pub on Mission Hill. Decorated with the flags of the 32 counties of lreland in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Flann O’Briens typically exudes the warmth and charm of the country back home in a more subtle way. But on this Paddy’s Day, Flann’s literally became a window across the Atlantic.
This weekend marked the first year of the of the Boston-Cork DrinkLink, a live Skype video feed that allowed patrons at Boston’s Flann O’Brien’s Pub and Cork’s Sextant Pub the opportunity interact with one another and share in the holiday craic. The idea was the brainchild of Nigel O’Mahony, owner of the Sextant pub and longtime friend of Flann’s owners Finbarr “Butch” Murray and Tony O’Brien.
Greeting patrons inside Flann’s on Sunday was O’Brien, who hails from Cork city but has lived stateside for more than half his life. He was delighted with the response from the crowds, which included regulars of both pubs exchanging good-natured jokes on handwritten signs in front of the cameras. “We hope to have a few more connections for next year. Maybe Dublin, Limerick, Galway. Who knows? Maybe somewhere on Cotter’s or O'Driscoll’s on Cape Clear Island.”
Flann’s patron Maurice Boland hoisted his pint high and waved to friends he had not seen in more than six years. Others got their fill on a full Irish breakfast buffet complete with blood puddings and Irish sausage. The buffet also included corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and carrots. For a cost of $15, patrons received a bracelet that allowed them to eat all day, and the first 50 also got a free Flann’s St. Paddy’s day tee shirt. Some came for breakfast and planned to see the parade then come back for dinner. Drink prices were a very reasonable $6.50 for a 20 oz. pint of the black stuff. Videos on big screens of helicopters flying over Ireland's sights and the sounds of Irish music also lent to the magical atmosphere.
“I feel like I’ve been transported,” said Boland with a grin.