About Rí Rá
The Victorian bar in the middle of the Charlotte pub was built in the early 1800's for the officer's mess in the Phoenix Park Barracks in Dublin. The bar was removed in 1920 and it lay in storage in a Dublin garage for over 70 years.
Ciaran Sheehan bought it in 1996 with a view to making it the centerpiece of his first Rí Rá Irish Pub, which opened in Charlotte on Ciaran's birthday, March 14th 1997. Ciaran went to great lengths to source, meticulously restore and relocate the pub from Ireland to its new home in Charlotte.
Toward the front of Rí Rá you will find the perfect example of a cozy shop bar which originated from somewhere within Northern Ireland, c 1740. Sections of this back bar include a restored Guinness mirror and a collection of Dublin Corporation Ledgers written from 1800-1840. These ledgers are available to all pub visitors to peruse over a quiet pint. The etched glass panels set into the Victorian back-bar are originals dating to the early 1800's.
The exact origin of the statue of St. Patrick standing behind the bar is unknown but it is well over 100 years old. It was not uncommon for a rural town or village to have a statue or a monument at the entrance to give a blessing to all passers by. In addition to the original bar the pub is full of antiquities of interest. Rí Rá is on two levels with an upper level terrace overlooking Hearst Plaza in the middle of downtown Charlotte.
The site where Rí Rá now stands was a department store that lay vacant for a number of years. The current structure dates from about 1910. However, during construction, Ciaran unearthed stable equipment and horseshoes suggesting that at some point in history the site was used as a stable.