The once famous McElhinney’s Garage in Dunfanaghy is to be converted into a micro-brewery.
Donegal County Council has given the green light to Anna McElhinney to repurpose the old building in Portnablagh.
The original structure will be substantially renovated to accommodate brewing equipment and a seating/viewing area at the rear, while maintaining the familiar facade.
According to the Dunfanaghy Life Facebook page, the garage was founded in 1926 and belonged to the McElhinney Brothers. It remained a family business into the late 20th century under David McElhinney.
The original brothers were Robert (Bobbie) McElhinney (b.1898) and David F McElhinney (b.1905) from Marble Hill.
The garage offered nearly every motoring service a local garage possibly could, from car and tractor sales to vehicle repairs and fuel. The old fuel pumps at the front were only removed in the last few years.
McElhinneys’ breakdown lorry was a familiar sight on the local roads. David was a member of the National Private Lorry Owners Protective Association.
In 1942 he campaigned against the government’s right to commandeer lorries during the war.
The war already had a huge impact on his petrol sales. In the days leading up to WW2, fuel prices doubled and McElhinney Bros were forced to sell a gallon of only grade 1 petrol for 1/11.
The brothers and their families were well-respected members of the local community.
They were prominent members of Ballymore Parish Church. Their wives worked hard to support them, particularly in letting out several of their properties in Portnablagh during the summer.
Robert and David were sons of David and Eliza Jane McElhinney. David Snr (b.1864) was a gardener (or land steward) for most of his life for Hugh A Law of Marble Hill house (MP and TD for Donegal).
As his lifelong gardener, David Snr was the only non-relative Mr Law bequeathed money to in his death in 1943, leaving £10 as a small token of “my friendship and esteem” for the late David McElhinney.
While working in the Marble Hill demesne in 1911, David Snr discovered a ‘fairy shoe’ in a secluded wood. It was perfectly made in fine leather and measured two inches by one inch. Mr Edward Cannon, a local teacher, gave it to the Donegal Museum in 1961.