Northern Island & The British Isles
The ultimate goal; to celebrate and bring unity through education, good food and good spirits.
NEVILLE’S IRELAND AND THE BRITISH ISLES
Neville grew up in Northern Ireland in the village of Lambeg in County Antrim 10 miles from Belfast where the influence of both Irish and Scottish cultures, cuisine and humour were fairly equal. It’s appropriate that McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar would reflect his spirited upbringing and background and Donegal Square heavily brings to light the culture and heritage he is so very proud of. Northern Ireland has always been troubled with the history of terrorism, violence and political unrest. The goal of this unique Irish destination in the heart of Historic Bethlehem was to bring light to what is at the heart of the country; a love for the arts, a love for their country, a love for their culture and heritage and a love of life.
The origin of Donegal Square remains a “Phoenix Rising” story — with many evolutions since its opening in 1985. Neville started this business with not much in his pocket, a dream in his heart, and a vision in his soul to educate the community about his country and give immigrants from his homeland a place to feel at home — and get all of the delicious food, clothing and other goods they would typically get back home.
When he opened Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room and Bakery in 1997, the goal was to further his vision and share the hospitality, foods and culture that he grew up with. The idea of a Pub…well that was always in the dream for future growth.
I remember coming here to McCarthy’s Tea Room. Time passed and I heard they had opened a Pub where the tearoom used to be. And a Whiskey Bar and Pub to boot!
Being almost 100% Irish this HAD TO become my regular watering hole.
So, I started coming here with classmates from community college and with co-workers
until it became my favorite bar and restaurant in the Lehigh Valley.
Now, one of my best friends and I have become ‘regulars’ here. It’s our first choice to drink, to eat, to unwind at the end of a workday or starting our weekend! It really, for me, is the best place to come with family or friends for an excellent time!! The staff are the BEST!! From Katie, Denise, Aimee, Jenny to Janet our favorite Whiskey Wench.
~MICHAEL J. DEMPSEY III
The Celtic Classic Festival and CCA (Celtic Cultural Alliance) was founded by Neville and a few other cultural pioneers from the local Irish and Scottish communities. The vision behind the festival and this newly formed organization was brought to life out of the desire to cross pollinate the different sides of the Irish and Scottish cultures.
A LITTLE ABOUT BELFAST
Belfast was a hub for the Irish linen, tobacco-processing, rope-making and shipbuilding industries in the early 20th century. Particularly, Harland and Wolff, famously known for building the Titantic, was the world’s biggest and most productive shipyard. The city of Belfast also was a key player in the Industrial Revolution, bringing inward migration and making Belfast Ireland’s largest city at the beginning of the 20th century.
In present day Ireland, Belfast remains at the central part of industry and is fondly known for the arts, higher education, business and law, continuing to fuel the economy of Northern Ireland.
Traditional Irish Food: Powered by Tradition
Traditional Irish cuisine isn’t just about cabbage and potatoes. It’s about culture and camaraderie. Despite times of poverty and famine, the men and women of Ireland proved themselves resilient and resourceful. Community bonds strengthened with activities centered around food and drink. A lack of means meant food and recipes were simple and homemade. Communities with few resources turned to laughter, song and dance to distract from loss. This simplicity is still emulated in pub culture, which is what makes an Irish Pubs so uniquely fun, warm and inviting.