Touching story of Irish bartender in N.Y.C. goes viral

Irish-American Kaitlin O’Brien shared the heartwarming story of the late Irish owner of McSorley’s in N.Y.C.

This touching story of an Irish bartender in N.Y.C. has captured the hearts of many after taking social media by storm.

Irish pubs are a staple in cities around the world, nowhere more so than the U.S.A. So, as such a mainstay of Irish-American culture in the States, these traditional pubs provide a vital link between many Irish-Americans and their ancestral home.

Thus, it is no surprise that a story shared on social media about an Irish bartender in N.Y.C. has melted the hearts of so many.

A heartwarming story – a childhood birthday

A heartwarming story of an Irish bartender in N.Y.C.
Credit: Instagram / @humansofny

The touching story of an Irish bartender in N.Y.C. was shared on the popular Instagram page ‘Humans of New York’ earlier this week.

Matty Maher, the owner of New York’s oldest pub McSorely’s, passed away in January 2020, aged 80. The Kilkenny native touched the hearts of many across the generations, encouraging many to return to McSorely’s again and again.

One such visitor was Irish-American Kaitlin O’Brien. She shared the incredible tale of Maher, which has since racked up almost half a million likes, earlier this week

O’Brien recalled her sixth birthday when her dad offered to do “something special” for her big day.

“I think he thought I was going to say ‘ice cream.’ But I said I wanted to go to New York City, and two weeks later, we were on a plane,” she reminisced.

Visiting her first Irish bar – an introduction to Irish culture

The tale of her first visit to an Irish bar.
Credit: Instagram / @humansofny

Regaling the story of the Irish bartender in N.Y.C., O’Brien recounted her morning in New York. She continued, “Afterward, my dad wanted to stop by an old Irish bar called McSorley’s.

“He’s not a creepy alcoholic father or anything. He designs bars for a living, and he’s always looking for inspiration.”

Evoking memories of the Irish bar, O’Brien states, “My dad ordered a beer, and an old man came and sat down at our table. He looked very Irish: suspenders, loose pants, red face. And he was very, very kind. He showed us a few card tricks.

“He loved that my last name was O’Brien and he kept calling me a ‘real-life Irish princess.’”

Making new friends – across the generations

The touching story of the Irish bartender in N.Y.C.
Credit: Instagram / @humansofny

Bringing up their shared heritage, O’Brien continued the fascinating tale of the Irish bartender in N.Y.C. She said, “At the end of our visit, we took a photo together.

“And as he was leaving, he told me: ‘I’m Matty Maher. The owner of this bar. And I’ll be expecting to see you again on your 21st birthday.’”

O’Brien recalled how she and her dad would pay a visit to McSorely’s any time they were in New York, keeping in contact with Maher throughout the years.

A promise kept a sentimental tale

The note left by Matty Maher on Kaitlin's 21st birthday.
Credit: Instagram / @humansofny

She continued, “When my 21st birthday came around, my dad took me on one last trip to New York. I sent Matty a postcard to let him know we were coming, but I wasn’t sure he’d remember me.

“It was early afternoon when we walked in the bar. It was almost empty – just like it had been fifteen years before. Matty was nowhere to be seen.

“And I was coming down with strep throat, so I wanted to leave. But it was just like a movie. The doors swung open, and Matty came in like a ray of sunshine.

“He brought a plate of cupcakes over to our table. He showed me a framed photograph of the two of us – it had been hanging in his office all these years. And then he gave me a birthday card. Inside he had written: ‘I’ve finally met a woman who keeps her word.’”