Like the island itself, the bar is steeped in history and has a strong connection with the legendary treasure The O’Donnell Pearls. The pearls were said to be originally given to the O’Donnell family by a Spanish sailor who survived the storm which foundered many of the ships of the Spanish Armada fleet of 1588. That branch of the O’Donnell family went on to become the landlords and owners of what is now Early’s Bar, bringing with them the precious treasure.
The pearls remained on the island until the 1950’s when a wealthy Englishman who was married to an Arranmore lady visited the island and realised their worth. They were put in safe keeping in an English vault in the 1960’s and later brought back to Ireland to be put on display in the Dublin Museum. The pearls later “vanished” and their whereabouts are currently unknown!
The 60s On
In 1966 the Early family bought the pub from Matt O’Donnell and the new owners, Andrew and Mary Early set about making huge renovations to the premises. As the years went on the Earlys brought many of the big country acts of the ’70’s and ’80’s to the island to play in their bar and they are also credited with giving the world famous Daniel O’Donnell his first big break in 1983. Despite his huge stardom Daniel returns to play in Early’s Bar once a year as a token of his appreciation for the support the Early family gave him at the begining of his career.
In 1990, Andrew and Mary retired from running the bar when Andrew’s son Jerry returned home from America with his wife Pat to continue on what Andrew and Mary established. Jerry and Pat quickly put their own stamp on the premises by carrying out more renovations to cater for a larger clientele ranging from the youngest to oldest. Today, as well as visiting bands entertaining the customers and discos in the lounge, Jerry and his good friend Robert Pfeiffer from Holland form an entertaining two piece act playing music to suit all ages.
Early’s Bar continues to evolve as Jerry and Pat’s children, Kayla, Aisling and Paul are now essential to the running of the bar. Over the years many of our full and part time staff have been connected to our family and added to the friendly atmosphere, as well as working hard!
The bar is continually changing, most recently in Spring 2017 when the whole bar and lounge was redecorated and adapted to embrace our local sea and fishing heritage.