Naas History Group Honour Hayden’s Pub

Naas History Group Honour Hayden’s Pub

The Naas Local History Group Ger Kinchella Heritage Award night took place in Naas Community Library, on Thursday last. The annual event which was postponed from earlier in the month was overshadowed by the recent sad passing of Molly Kinchella RIP who along with her husband the late Ger was founder members of Naas Local History Group way back in 1984. History group chairperson James Durney, thanked everyone for coming, especially Molly’s sons John, (Naas) and Pearse and grandson Jack who had had travelled from New Zealand. He was joined by many of the attendance in paying tribute to and remembering the important part played by Molly and Ger in the early years of the group. Liam Kenny spoke of Molly’s pride in the fact that she personally knew the late Father Francis Browne SJ, the famous Jesuit photographer who died in 1960. The family thanked the group for their sympathy and for honouring their dad with the annual event.

Hayden’s of Naas, “The Cyclists Rest” “The Sporting Pub” “ The Pub with no Beer” what ever you know it by. Hayden’s has been an institution in Naas. Built in 1820 it was originally listed as a home dwelling. It was renovated and licensed as a pub in 1850. Andrew Archer was the original land owner. He left the pub to one James Togher, Hayden’s initial tenant in 1851. James Togher traded in Hayden’s until 1883. When Loftus Hayden took over the lease. The Landlord now being Jane Archer, daughter to Andrew. Loftus was well known for his entrepreneurial spirit and was often seen cycling the road to Dublin in order to pick up cyclists along the way and lure them back to Hayden’s for a pint of plain! Hence the name “The Cyclists Rest” Maybe that was also the reason why he went forward and got elected to the newly established Naas Urban District Council first in 1902 with 273 votes and was re-elected in 1905 with 195 votes.

Loftus had six children, James (Sonny), Thomas, Loftus Jnr, and daughters Dolly, Eily, and Molly. It is not generally known what year Loftus passed the pub on to his son, Loftus Jnr, or when Loftus acquired the ground rent at Hayden’s. Porters directory 1910 describes Hayden’s;  Hayden & Co wholesale bottlers,wine and spirit merchants dairymen, hay and straw purveyors and contractors, Shamrock House, Poplar Square, Naas. Telegrams; Hayden, Naas. It had at least three addresses; 61 Main Street East, 47 Main Street North and 7 Poplar Square.

However, Loftus, Thomas, Molly and Eily continued the Hayden name at the Cyclists Rest right up until the 1980s.   It was during this time that Hayden’s developed the other name of “ the Pub with no beer” as Loftus would often have to cross the road to Lawlor’s for a few dozen Guinness or up to Fletchers for a tray of “pints” if an unexpected group of customers arrived. They were never short of a gallon of milk, however, as much of Poplar Square was supplied by the Hayden’s!

The pub was purchased by Mrs Cook in 1978, who also owned the Gem newsagents next door. She owned it for about eight years and then it was owned for a brief period in the late 1980s by Fitzgerald’s. Hayden’s was purchased by the present owners The Dunne family in 1990 and has been and continues to be an old fashioned but well run heritage public house which has been part of Poplar Square since 1850.

The evening then continued with the presentation of the Heritage Cup by History Group Chairperson noted local historian and writer James Durney followed by the presentation of a scroll by group president Paddy Behan. Which stated that “Naas Local History Group Award our Heritage Cup and Scroll for 2015 to Hayden’s Pub in recognition of their contribution to the continuation of the traditional Pub Heritage of Naas. Hayden’s “The Cyclists Rest” has been and continues to be part of the traditional character of Poplar Square and Naas for over a hundred years”.

Accepting on behalf of “Hayden’s” Fergal Dunne whose family have been running the premises for the past twenty five years. Mr Dunne said that when his family came into the ownership of the premises in 1990 “  there was straw on the floor” and it had been like that for the previous one hundred and fifty years. He continued “ that while it not possible for the pub to continue like that, the family had, and would endeavour to continue to keep it  old fashioned for many years to come”.

James Durney closed the evening by thanking everyone for their contributions and for coming out to make the evening a successful and enjoyable one. He hoped that Hayden’s would continue to be part of the traditional pub scene in Naas for many years to come.

Paddy Behan PRO.