Steve Duggan, the co-founder of Paddy Reilly's and one of Irish America's favorite sons, has passed away in Florida.

Duggan, a native of Cavan, will forever be remembered for creating opportunities for young talent to come and play in his NYC pub Paddy Reilly's, which became a home away from home for so many.

As the beloved proprietor of Paddy Reilly's Irish Pub on Manhattan's East Side, Duggan created a magnificent location for Irish music, singing, and the craic.

In Memorium: Steve Duggan, co-founder of Paddy Reilly’s, passed peacefully with loved ones present this morning. With a...

Posted by Paddy Reillys on Thursday, April 4, 2024

Duggan opened the bar back in 1986 with Paddy Reilly, the famous Irish folk singer and member of the band The Dubliners whose bookings he used to manage. 

Soon, the crowds were around the block and Duggan, quick with a joke, marvelous with a dry wit, and as shrewd as a businessman from Cavan had ever been, was at the center of it all.

Duggan decided it would not just be Irish music alone in the pub and offered a Céad Míle Fáilte to bluegrass, folk, and rebel bands, all creating an amazing atmosphere. Black 47, arguably the greatest Irish group of that era, began their career in spectacular fashion at Paddy Reilly's after Duggan invited them to play. Joannie Madden and Eileen Ivers of Cherish the Ladies were also huge attractions.

Paddy Reilly's.

Paddy Reilly's.

For years, Guinness was the only brew on tap at Paddy Reilly's – the sign outside still says “the world’s first and only all draft Guinness bar” – and patrons flocked to the unfussy bar with the feel of a pub in Ireland.

Last year, Duggan told the Irish Voice, sister publication to IrishCentral, that there were so many memories of his life and times at Paddy Reilly’s that he could write a book.

“Naomi Campbell, Brad Pitt, Kiefer Sutherland, Christy Turlington, Jimmy Fallon; they’ve all been in,” Duggan said at the time.

Fallon filmed a segment at Paddy Reilly's for his "Tonight Show" in March 2019 with Conor McGregor.

“This is one of my favorite places to come hang and one of the best Guinnesses in the city,” Fallon said on the broadcast. 

Paddy Reilly's even survived the dark days of COVID-19 and the pub came roaring back right after the worst of the pandemic passed.

In his youth, Duggan was a highly regarded football player who played for his native Cavan and was considered one of the best. You would often find him at Belmont Park, a love of the horses just another side of Steve.

The good news is that Paddy Reilly's will continue, as Duggan, who moved to Florida in later years, handed it off to new owners who have kept the spirit alive.

Steve Duggan was one of a kind - he was always willing to help out young Irish in need and put his enormous energy into whatever project he undertook.

His passing marks the end of an era, but not the end of the legendary Steve with so many memories of his contribution to Irish American life fresh in the minds of so many.

Ni Bheidh a Leitheid Ann Aris - There will never be the likes of him again.