John D'Arcy & Son Ltd

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Dublin D'Arcy 2.jpg
Dublin D'Arcy 1.jpg

John D'Arcy & Son Ltd, Anchor Brewery, Usher Street, Dublin, Ireland.

Founded 1740. Registered 1896.

Acquired by Jameson, Pim & Co. Ltd 1926 and was closed.


From the Brewery History Society Journal number 91

The brewery was founded in 1740 and passed through a series of owners into the hands of the D'Arcy family in 1818. Prior to this however, much great work had been done in this brewery initiated by one Charles Page, another London Porter brewer who had come to Dublin on the invitation of the original owners, ie. Messrs Kavangh and Brett. Its output capacity was 250,000 barrels per annum, mainly porter for some local and export trade.

O'Connell's Dublin Ale was brewed here until the brewery closed in 1926.

From: The Breweries and Distilleries in Dublin

The Anchor brewery 1760-1926 was one of three breweries in Usher Street though some claim it can be traced back to 1740. No traces remain as Dublin Corporation constructed a new street on the site and rebuilt the area as social housing. The site lay to the south of the street adjoining a large wagon and wheel works. There were 300 employees in 1900 producing 250,000 barrels annually.

The Hibernian Anchor brewery is reputed to have commenced in 1740. Michael Kavanagh and John Brett advertised that they had purchased the porter brewery of John Ormston, Usher Street on 9-11-1798. While it is not clear when Mr Page came to Dublin, in 1782 Kavanagh & Brett advertised that they were brewing porter under the direction of Charles Page of London which they claimed was equal to any imported from England. Hibernian Brewery Usher Street 24-7-1806 advertised for artificers to install a steam engine. Guinness sold their horse mill 10-12-1809 presumably on installation of the steam engine. This shows that at the time both were of similar size and sophistication.

A contemporary advertisement said it was of “superior quality which will be found on trial to be equal to any imported from England”. The authorities executed Robert Emmet for his part at an abortive uprising in 1803 at St Catherine’s church in nearby Thomas Street. It is reputed that the gibbet was constructed on a base of barrels taken from the Anchor brewery, unfortunately the contemporary sketch by Broccas does not confirm this story by detailing the base of the gibbet. The brewery passed John Dominick Byrne sold the concern on his retirement in 1818 to John D’Arcy for £35,000.

D’Arcy died in 1825 and is buried at St Kevin’s churchyard in Camden Row. His headstone describes him as a brewer of Usher Street. At his funeral the Church of Ireland authorities forbade a Catholic priest to officiate at the graveside – they were restricted to the roadside outside the cemetery. The ancient St Kevin’s church became Church Of Ireland at the Reformation and was in the St Patrick’s deanery. Just before Catholic Emancipation from the Penal laws in 1829 the Church of Ireland authorities were taking an ultra strict interpretation of their rights. While the family kept the matter quiet to prevent a riot which would surely have involved burning St Patrick’s cathedral the newspapers reported the scandal. As a result Daniel O’Connell established cemeteries at Golden Bridge and Glasnevin where Catholics could bury their dead in peace. By 1866 D’Arcy’s son also John had acquired an area of five acres on the south side of Usher Street as well as the original buildings on the north side of the street. They spent £20,000 sinking wells to get cooling water. About 1870 of the ten breweries in Dublin Anchor was the second producing 250,000 barrels Guinness was the foremost at 1.6 million Hl while the other eight together produced 160,000 Hl. This is significant because Guinness had not yet incorporated and the huge expansion of the 1880s was in the future. When Manders and Powell failed in 1907 D’Arcy’s took over making O’Connell’ s Ale but they sold the Watling street site only six months later Manders & Powell included Phoenix who had ceased in 1905. D’Arcy’s survived themselves until 1926. The site of these breweries was cleared to build the Guinness power station now converted to Roe distillery, a revival of the name Roe whose original site was across Watling Street was at the windmill.



The brewery features in The Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland by Alfred Barnard published 1890.


Entry in the Trade Mark Registry

Registration No : 3,363/4
Description : An anchor
Date of Application : 04/03/1876
Used Prior to 1875? : Eighty years before 03/03/1876


Registration No : 166,155
Description : An anchor
Date of Application : 23/7/1892
Used Prior to 1875? : Since 1792