my town Hiroshima’s Irish pub, Molly Malone’s, picked up two of our Best of Hiroshima Awards in 2016 and Mark Gardiner has been at the helm since its very beginnings, 15 years ago.
How did you end up in Hiroshima? After studying and working in hospitality management in Ireland, Dubai and Korea, I was excited to hear about an opportunity to run a new Irish pub in Hiroshima being opened by the Taigeki Kaikan company. The day I arrived with our chef to meet the owners, happened to be in the middle of Ebisu festival. So, the city was bursting with people and there was a great atmosphere. It was a great first impression of the city. Many of those memorable nights out drinking in the city ended alongside long-timers at the iconic Mac bar. There is certainly a void now it’s gone. Did you ever think you’d settle in Japan? Japan might seem a long way away from the Ireland, but I actually had a family connection with Japan. One of my father’s cousins had fallen in love in Paris in the 1950s with a Japanese diplomat and emigrated to Tokyo. She went on to work for the Emperor as a interpreter when foreign dignitaries came to visit and translated his Haiku poems. I was able to meet her a few times in Tokyo before she passed away, she was a really interesting lady. We remember this building before Molly Malone’s, how was it built? Everything you see in the pub, the wood, glass, and all the memorabilia, was made in Australia, shipped here and reassembled piece by piece to create the Molly Malone’s we know today. How might someone describe Molly’s to a friend? A place to come and relax and find someone to talk to where you don’t have to worry about anything. We get conservative eaters and people who are overwhelmed by the unfamiliarities of Japan. Both visitors and residents crave a break sometimes. Japan can be an especially hard place to travel if you are by yourself. This is a place where there’s always someone to chat with.
What do you get up to when you’re not at work? We spend a lot of our free time as a family in our neighborhood- our neighbors are really friendly. Our main Hiroshima activity is probably supporting the Hiroshima Carp. Actually, I’m a football fan, but our son has loved baseball since he was three and watched his first professional game. He practices baseball at the weekends and we go to support the Carp at the stadium when we can. Years ago, I tried to support Sanfrecce, but it was too much effort to get out and back to the Big Arch stadium. Plus, the atmosphere just can’t compare to a Carp home game at Mazda Stadium. Other than that, we are a pretty typical family and we like going to the Aeon Mall in Fuchu. The new LECT shopping center, near Shoko Center, is closer to home, so that could become a new favorite. I’ve also recently started playing Futsal again with a group of friends down at Pivox in Ujina, near the Prince Hotel, which is a good laugh.
How about local trips? If we have a weekend free, we might go up to Kobe as we have family there. When my mother visited recently we went to Daisen- we loved that! They have lots of nice B&B’s out there which you don’t see much of around Japan. Anything exciting on the horizon for Molly Malone’s? Our St Patrick’s Day celebration, coming up on March 17, is our biggest event of the year and, of course, we’ll have to commemorate our 15th anniversary in December. Oh, and try our best selling fish & chips which are specially priced between 5pm and 7pm Tuesday to Thursday to go with our happy hour drinks. If you’re visiting Hiroshima, please pop into Molly Malone’s to say hello. You will always find a friendly face and be able to relax here. Hope to see you soon!
The best of Hiroshima. In English.