America’s Oldest Irish Pub Closes
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
October / November 2016
The oldest Irish pub in America shut its doors once and for all in September. Patrick’s of Pratt Street, a tourist attraction and local haunt alike, was established in Baltimore by Patrick Healy in 1847.
The business lived out its first fifteen years on the corner of S. Schroeder and Lemon Streets, during which time it went by Healey’s. Eventually it was moved to its permanent location on Pratt Street, where it was run by members of the Healy and Rowley families until the time of its closing. Patrick Rowley, the final owner of Patrick’s, inherited the pub from his uncle in 1999.
“It’s just time to move on,” he told IrishCentral. “I’m almost 70, and I don’t feel old, just too tired to be on my feet carrying drinks all night. We don’t have an heir or family member to take it over. They’re all too busy with their own professional lives.” Rowley, whose Irish heritage is rooted in Swinford and Foxford of Co. Mayo, believed that Patrick’s was “like a family. Irish pubs are supposed to be friendly, welcoming places. It shouldn’t be about politics, or serious stuff, or what’s wrong with anybody.”
Rowley has revealed his intention to focus his newfound freedom on Patrick’s Custom Tours, an Irish tour business he has run with his wife, Anne, for the last 17 years. He said, “I might be too old to stand behind a bar for hours, but I can still sit in a coach and talk about Ireland just fine.” ♦