Tory social club changes hands 

WHEN Owen Clarke met his partner Siobhán McClafferty in the Social Club on Tory little did he know the couple would go on to run the popular bar. 
This week the pair have taken over management from Daniel and Majella Cullen. The Club, which was built in 1975 by Willie Val Doohan and Patsy Dan Rodgers, has been the hub for the island community for more than four decades.
That tradition of bringing the community together is something Owen and Siobhan are keen to carry on during their tenure.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week Owen explained that while he is new to the industry Siobhán, who was born and bread on the island, has a wealth of experience having worked in hospitality for years.
Owen is a native of Derry but has been living in Donegal for 20 years, settling in Bloody Foreland before moving to the island ten years ago.
A keen photography, the ruggedness and wilderness of the island drew him in but it was the people that made him stay.
“The people are so welcoming and friendly. I do a lot of photography and Tory is absolutely beautiful,” he said.
Every two years there is an open competition for those interested in taking over the running of the Club. Names are put forward to a committee and votes are cast.
Having secured the votes needed Owen and Siobhán are currently in the handover stage and will celebrate with a welcome night on Saturday that will also coincide with the end of season ferry. Their daughter Emily will also pitch in and help with the business.
“We can’t wait. It is a nice way to start it as it is the end of the ferry season. We are really looking forward to it,” said Owen.
“There are big shoes to fill. Daniel has been fantastic.  He developed the food side of the business.”
Taking over a pub in today’s climate may seem risky but Owen is feeling very positive with Covid-19 restrictions ending.
“There are more options now for live music. It is a good time to get into it,” he said.
It is not your typical commercial bar and the Social Club represents something more, a place for the community to gather for big milestones like communions, weddings and ceilis.
Looking to the future there are plans in place to hold events on the island during the off season when weather permits. The social club, the hotel and the ferry service will work together in this regard giving the island economy a boost.
“If there is a weather window and we are putting on an event the hotel will open for us. It’s all about working together,” said Owen.
Outgoing proprietors Daniel and Majella took to social media this week to wish the couple well before they moved on to the next chapter in their lives.
“I would like to sincerely thank all those who worked for us down through the years and all the help we received in making those memories possible,” said Daniel.
“We want to wish Owen and Siobhán many successful years of business in there new venture. They are perfect for the job.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland