The strip mall that the Claddagh Cottage occupies is being sold and the building will be torn down to make way for a Walgreens. We are heartbroken.
The owners Scott Vocca & Vicki Gish purchased the pub from the former owner Jimmy Mulvaney in February. It was their dream to own the pub that means so much to them, as well as each of us. Their story is below.
This GoFundMe account is to help relocate the Claddagh Cottage . For those who may not know, in order to open a pub with a kitchen in it, it will be very expensive. Commercial grade kitchens are now required by code, as the current pub is grandfathered into old building codes it was not required.
Scott & Vicki wish to stay in the area, maintain the look, atmosphere, love, friends, drinks, and food that we all love at the Claddagh. With your help, they can do just that.
Any unused proceeds will be donated to a charity that Scott & Vicki choose.
Here is Scott & Vicki's story:￼
Scott and Vicki met at the Claddagh Cottage on Halloween of 2000. Vicki was in the “house” band called Bualadh Bos with Colm and Philip Mullen, Mike Velasquez (Mickey Squeeze), Chris McNew and with Stacia Lewis running the sound and organizing. Vicki joined the band in 1999. They played Irish folk/rock like the Pogues and originals written by Colm. Scott came to listen to the band on that Halloween and brought his banjo. They ended up jamming with him afterwards until the wee hours. Soon he joined the band. After several months of having fun playing with Bualadh Bos, the band split apart.
Scott and Vicki had a keen interest in playing traditional Irish music so they started playing tunes together. They also fell in love. In February of 2001 Scott convinced Vicki to go to the Claddagh and play some tunes with him, sitting at a table. Soon others joined them and then it became a regular every-other Tuesday event. Then one of the musicians, David Armstrong, asked if they could move it to Wednesday since he started taking a class on Tuesdays. So their first Wednesday session was on September 12, 2001. That was a difficult day but music brought everyone welcome relief from the grief of September 11th.
As the years went on, many people came into and through the session. They have met all our good friends through the fellowship of the music and this great pub. Their session is the longest running session that has stayed in one venue in the Southeast. It has attracted many great musicians from all over, while visiting Orlando for work or vacation. We have been fortunate to play with many people who have contributed to the session over the years.
They are: John and Cathy Benton, Kathleen Dugan Cavanagh, Stacia Lewis, Ralph Eyman, Valerie Kitcher, Rick Norry, David Armstrong, Patrick Looney, Marty Groody, Christian Mildh, Bob Denton, Julian Lambertson, Heather Gilmer, Justin Murphy, Will Cooper, Gillian Sharer, Matt Saunders, Becky and Dale Wood, Sharon Hartman, Cliff Cagle, Chris Johnson, Dan Bradbury, Anne Dillon, Elliott Klaber, Lamont Goff, Kevin Hing, Jill Langer and Keri Halverson, Josephine Carey, Zac Leger, John Maze, Larre Reeves, Virginia Boone, Josie Davenport, Lane Pritchard, Robbie Zukaskas, Gary White, Diane Cardarelli, Janis Deane, Stephen Payne, Don Penzien, Jason Van Steenwyck, Micheal Bolton, Bobby Brannon, and John Winston and many more we haven't mentioned.
Some of the notable musicians that have graced us with their presence are: Eamonn Dillon, Skip Healy, Brendan Begley, Brian MacNamara, John Whelan, Joey Abarta, Mick O’Brien, Andrew O’Brien, Sean Ryan, Willie Kelly, Patrick Ourceau, Pat and Cathy Sky, Michael Cooney, Benedict and Hilari Koehler, Florence Fahy, Josh Dukes, Órlaith and Brogan McAuliffe, David Power, Gerry Hanley, Michael Stribling, Dan Lowery, Alan Murray, Alastair White, Anna Colliton, Kevin Buckley, Colin Farrel, Shane Farrel, Damien McCarthy, Mike Walsh, and Arthur Stones.
We were also blessed with the presence of a true gentleman, Irishman, historian, shanachie and singer, Sean Kelly. If you came to the session from around 2011 to 2014, you might have caught him singing, sometimes in Irish. When he sang, the whole pub would get quiet to listen to him. He was always full of compliments and kind words. He passed away in November of 2014. He is missed by many.
We had many years of fun in the pub, from New Year’s Eve parties (been to most of them), to the Pubbie Awards to the ugly sweater contest. Let’s not forget the Battle of the Bitches, in which Stacia and I participated in 1999. I think we came in last place, but it was a blast.
When Scott & Vicki heard that Jimmy was selling the pub, they thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to buy the pub they loved and keep the music going. And so they did it. They took over in February this year. They didn’t advertise that they did, but people starting finding out naturally. Perhaps some of you are still finding out. Then just as they were getting the hang of running a pub, only months into the new venture, they got THE CALL.
The building was being sold and would to be torn down. It felt like a punch to the gut. So here they are, facing an uncertain future. They would like to relocate but don’t really have the money, since they just bought the pub. This has been really hard on them – they have their down days and some up days. The http://mediaweb.wftv.com/document_dev/2016/08/03/MPBProjectOverview2016-09_CUP2[phone redacted]9_5585186_ver1.0.pdf" target="_blank">developers said that they don’t want them to go out of business and that they don’t want them to go into debt. We’re holding out hope that they really mean it. If they don’t get their help, it’s unlikely we can do it on our own with the costs of rebuilding, permitting delays and possible impact fees. They have been informally notified that they can stay until November.
This is just their story. There are many, many more stories and people who have been impacted by this pub. It’s a cultural icon.
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