'We left Dublin to follow a dream and it's working,' say founders of Mullicháin Café in Carlow

The pair describe how they left Dublin behind to pursue a dream along the banks of the River Barrow

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Mullicháin Café in Carlow (Source: Mullicháin Café Facebook page)

The founders of Mullicháin Café in Carlow have described how they left Dublin behind to pursue a dream along the banks of the River Barrow.

Speaking to, a website powered by Bank of Ireland, Martin and Emer O’Brien said in 1999 they decided to purchase an old 18th century, four-storey, canal storehouse that was in need of repair.

A decade later they converted the bottom two stories of the building into the Mullicháin Café, a unique and now well-known café, located on the quayside at St Mullins in Carlow.

Martin said: "Both of us enjoyed down-river canoeing, and when our kids were small, we would start off on the Barrow River at Maganey in Carlow, with our Canadian canoes.

"We canoed, paddled and camped all the way down, eventually ending up staying with Maggie O’Dwyer in her B&B, which was our first real introduction to St Mullins. I can remember saying to Emer, “If the opportunity arises, I would like to buy something down here”.

Martin and Emer recall how they left Dublin to start the café after a derelict property appeared for auction in the local paper. 

It is a seasonal business, and they open six days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 6pm from the first week in March until the end of October. It’s family-run and specialises in quality home-baking.

“We employ a lot of local students who have been instrumental in the success of the café. People know that when they arrive here, that they will be well looked after and can be sure of a warm welcome from us”, Emer told the website. 

"A lot of people in family businesses hope that one day they can pass the business onto their son or daughter. However these days, that appears to be happening less and less.

"Luckily in our case, it has happened, when five years ago our son Mark joined us, to take over and manage the business, on a day-to-day basis.

“Every day we pinch ourselves, with what we have here right now. It’s the success and enjoyment we experience, along with the fantastic support that we receive from people in the local community and beyond. It’s really what makes, what we do here, all the more worthwhile,” she added. 

To read the full article by, you can click here. 

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