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Living large in SoNa (Prague) It is a well known and much lamented fact that as a generation, we have lacked a unifying occasion. ...

Frank Haughton (from Facebook)
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Frank Haughton moved to the Czech Republic in 1993 with one goal in mind; to open the first Irish Pub in the Czech Republic.

And that's just what he did in November 1993, appropriately naming it the James Joyce. 

He acknowledged both the success of Irish pubs in other European cities and the lack of an Irish pub in Prague, which was rapidly becoming a tourist haven. Rudimentary math, isn't it? At first James Joyce catered primarily to the expat community that was growing at a rapid rate at that time. The original location is no more, but the new location, at U Obecního dvora 794/4 in Staré Město, has kept the spirit alive and even improved upon it.

That's because the Czechs have caught on to the fact that this ambient place has good traditional Irish food and he's seen an ever-increasing amount of Czech patronage since the early post-Velvet revolution days. Riding the success of James Joyce, Frank opened Caffrey's, located on Old Town Square, in February 1997.

Frank Haughton at the first genuine Irish pub in the Czech Republic 18 years agoFrank Haughton at the first genuine Irish pub in the Czech Republic 18 years agoEvery year, since 1998, from about March 15th through the 20th, Frank organises the Annual Czech/Irish Traditional Music Festival to celebrate Irish culture and St. Patrick's holidays.

"I don't want to get up on St. Patrick's Day and just wave the Irish flag...", says Frank.

His goal is to bring Irish and Czech culture together through the festival. 

During the first year, Prague saw groups like the Dublin Concert Group, which consists of 25 musicians and vocalists, and the Canty Cerry Choir will be making the trip from Ireland for the four day festival. What's more, there are also Czech groups both joining the Irish groups and performing alone during the festivals. Every year since then has seen the festival grow from strength to strength with more popular bands joining the roster.

There is also be traditional Irish dancing, not to mention readings from James Joyces works and other Irish authors between the sets. Bands at the Irish pubs around Prague and sponsors of the festival include Guinness, Caffrey's Irish Ale and Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Frank hopes to make this annual event truely apart of the yearly Prague music and social calendar have been realised. He recognizes the ties between Ireland and the Czech Republic throughout history and he intends to make those ties stronger than ever.

I asked Frank if he enjoys living in Prague, his answer was simple, "Yes, of course I do!"


- Address: U Obecního dvora 794/4, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Phone: +420 224 818 851 www.jamesjoyceprague.cz, Main photo from Facebook. 1998 photo by Jeffree Benet
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