Boston bids a final goodbye to The Purple Shamrock, with bagpipes and all

The Purple Shamrock casket is hefted into the bar during its funeral procession Thursday.

Today, as three men in kilts fired up their bagpipes, and set off from The Black Rose, followed by two men hefting an empty casket decked out in purple shamrocks, all of Faneuil Hall stood at attention, and fell silent with confusion.

That’s because the crowd that gathered was comprised of a mixed group  – those who assumed it was an actual Irish funeral procession, and those who were in on the gag.

The attention-grabbing event gave Boston a chance to bid farewell to The Purple Shamrock, an Irish bar that has pumped the Hub full of Guinness and good spirits for 32 years. On Saturday, the bar will close for good, a result of rocketing rent prices.

So management figured, why not give the old bar the goodbye she deserves? That goodbye took the form of a makeshift funeral march and “wake” with the casket being “laid to rest” at The Purple Shamrock. There was also a toast and eulogy from a manager, a book of condolences, and a handle of Irish Whiskey.

“You know what? We’ve been here for 32 years, we’ve had a great time, we’d love to stay a little longer, unfortunately we can’t with the rent hikes they want to impose on us,” said General Manager Paul Wilson. “We’ll hopefully be able to have a reincarnation, further down the road, in a couple of months. But this is a way to say ‘Thanks to Boston and our neighbors at Faneuil Hall.’”

“It’s kind of sad because we play here on St. Paddy’s Day, so it’s kind of a bummer to play here today,” said Tim Sullivan, one of the bagpipers.

His fellow piper, Jason Taggart, said he may stop in for a pint on Saturday at the bar’s last call.

“For me, it feels like a local pub but it’s in a very metropolitan area. It’s unfortunate,” Taggart said.

Positioned in the heart of Boston’s Freedom Trail, it should come as no surprise that the swillery is frequented by tourists, however a lot of younger Boston residents who attended today’s ceremony said the bar should not die with the legacy of “a tourist trap.”

“It’s a good place to drink, and also to eat. The whole area is kind of touristy,” said Robert Heaney, a Bostonian who stopped in to check out the bar’s “last call” t-shirts. “I remember when I first moved here, my cousin who lived in Boston told me to hit up The Purple Shamrock. He spoke highly of it, and that was six years ago. I guess at lunch it’s touristy, but definitely at night it’s a mix.”

Another Boston resident, Ryan Cuzeau, stood nearby, draped in green and purple beads. Having met his girlfriend there, and enjoyed many fine nights of drinks and “upbeat music,” Cazeau said the bar will be missed.

“You see lots of different faces here. I’d say some tourists come in, but it was a great attraction for everyone,” Cazeau.


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