In 1840 James Moroney set up a bar and grocery in the Lower Market area of Ennis, known to this day as The Mall. It is now the oldest family-owned pub in Ennis. In the early years, it was frequented by townspeople and country folk alike who came to purchase their tea and sugar which was bagged on the premises, along with all the other household items of the time. In those days the premises had a 6-day licence and it was only in the early 1950s that his grandson Gerry changed this to a 7-day licence.
Apparently James never opened on a Sunday, preferring to keep this day free for the family. Another quirk of his was to close up the back entrance of the premises saying, "if one doesn't wish to enter through the front door there is no reason for them to enter through the back". Obviously, business theories differed back then from those of today. The family also bottled their own whiskey and beer up to the early 1960s, and photos of this era feature on the modern pub's walls.
On James' death on 31st Dec 1884, the premises passed to his wife Anne. She continued the traditions until her son John took over the reins. He became Chairman of the Ennis Urban District Council and chaired meetings in the Town Hall, which is now a well known restaurant, and part of the Old Ground Hotel on O'Connell Street. His son Gerry, who was well known in GAA and greyhound circles, inherited the pub in the 1950s, and renovated it in 1965 to concentrate solely on a bar trade. Gerry's motto of a clean glass, clean floor, clean toilet and a good pint still stand to this day. His wife Mary worked in the pub for 45 years, and was very popular with all customers. Their son James also worked in the pub during the 1980s.
The pub was, and still is, very popular with country folk, as generations down through the years, who came to Ennis to shop, dropped in to buy their groceries or have a relaxing drink. Indeed, the snug area was where the ladies were ushered on entering the premises, and it is here that many matches were made down through the years. Pictures on the walls show the transformation of the Market area over the last 100 years to the thriving business area it is today.
After Gerry's retirement from business, and death of his wife Mary, the premises underwent a complete renovation from top to bottom in 2004. It was decided that the front of the premises would return to the facade it had at the turn of the century, with the name of the original owner James over the door. The interior was transformed into an old-style pub, with memorabilia of times past on the wall. It was John Moroney, son of Gerry and fourth-generation owner, who undertook this work along with his wife Marian.
On completion of this renovation, Moroney's Bar reopened on 4th June 2005, run by Brian John McCarthy. His superb trad sessions, live sporting events and welcoming manner helped put Moroney's back on the map. In 2011, Charlie O'Mara started running the bar, followed by John White in 2016, both continuing to make Moroney's the place to be in Ennis. Since 2022, the bar has been run by father-and-son duo Maurice and Thomas Walsh. They continue the great ethos of Moroney's, which has not changed since the doors were first opened back in 1840 — "All are welcome".