The first place I ever lifted a pint of beer in Raleigh was at the Hibernian Pub on Glenwood South.
It was 9 1/2 years ago on a warm springtime Sunday in April and Glenwood South looked very different then. There was no Tobacco Road or Amra's. No Bruegger's Bagels, no pizza joints selling slices late into the night, and certainly no hotel or no giant building of condos overlooking the street. There was The Hibernian and a few other places. By the time I raised a glass of Smithwick's there, the Hibernian had already been open three years, an Irish pub well ahead of its time as it relates to the Raleigh renaissance. And for that, you can thank this guy:
That's Niall Hanley, the owner of the Hibernian. His devotion and commitment towards Glenwood South as an entertainment district has included some wild successes (Hibernian), discouraging failures (The Diner), and sweeping risks (Solas). But it's impossible not to love a guy who isn't afraid to take chances on making his town better and more fun. The timing of the Hibernian's demise by fire yesterday is bittersweet, as Niall is preparing to open a third Hibernian location in North Raleigh in the former Duffy's location within the next few months.
This radio station has spent many glorious days and nights at The Hibernian on Glenwood South, most notably our annual St. Baldrick's event to raise money to fight kid's cancer. Niall was a pioneer in the hosting of this event.
Niall's commitment to the Triangle and to charity should be cheered and anyone that's ever met him shouldn't doubt that The Hibernian will be rebuilt.
Just tell us when, and we'll bring the hardhats and the Guinness.