The History of Red Neds

Red Neds was purchased in 1907 by Edward O'Neill (Red Ned from whom the bar takes its name) and today it is still in the family and owned by his grandson Malachy. The lease dates back to 1876 but it has been established that people in the town of Armagh were able to buy alcohol here for around 50 years before that- from at least 1819. According to the Armagh valuation of 1864 the property was leased by a Henry Savage and it was valued at £30, the highest in the street.


There is a seven year gap from when Savage died in 1869 until the signing of the first existing lease in 1876, when it was not possible to verify who was in charge of the business. The lease stated that the property, formerly occupied by Eugene Quinn in Ogle Street and adjoining premises in Chapel Lane formerly occupied by Mrs Mary Mc Court, was passing into the hands of Thomas Mc Cann for 31 years from the Rev. Mc Kegney. It is believed that this priest came into possession of the property when Savage died as he had no heir and was greatly involved in the church. Thomas Mc Cann was described as being a family grocer and spirit merchant. It remained in the Mc Cann family until 1894 when it was sold to John Conway and Patrick Rafferty. Edward O Neill acted as his apprentice until he took over the property in 1907 He passed it down to his son Sean who in turned passed it down to his son, the current owner Malachy. Throughout the hundred years in the O'Neill Family the pub changed considerably.


During Edwards time there was only one barman employed Joe Devlin of Callan Street, and the bar consisted of three snugs for the female customers. During Seans time the snugs were removed and converted into a stylish bar area When he passed away in 1996 at the age of 65 the bar was taken over by Malachy. In 1999 he completed a full refurbishment, and expanded taking over two more buildings in Ogle Street. Today the bar attracts a younger clientele and the older regulars, however the old traditions have not been lost.