McGettigan’s celebrates 50 years of pouring, fun

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Anne and Manus McGettigan outside the 19th Hole on its 50th anniversary.

GALLOWAY – It’s hard to tell which is the bigger love story – that of Anne and Manus McGettigan, who’ve been married 57 years, or the public’s affection for McGettigan’s 19th Hole Tavern which marked its 50th anniversary across from Seaview Resort here Sunday, Sept. 23.

“It’s hard to describe how big it was,” Councilman John Mooney said of the event where he and fellow Councilman Jim Gorman presented a proclamation. “If you know McGettigans on St. Patrick’s Day – it was like that.”

No exaggeration.

There was barely room to walk for most of the five-hour celebration that featured music by the Mott’s Creek Pickers and the standard fare McGettigan’s.

Manus McGettigan and Anne Gallagher were both baptized in the same church in Donegal, Ireland, as infants.

“She came from the same place, but I never knew her there,” Manus McGettigan said. “It was when we both lived in Philadelphia that we met. We got married the next year.”

The McGettigans moved to Atlantic City where Manus McGettigan went to work in a bar owned by his brother and started their family that would eventually include six children – three boys who all live in this area and three girls – one local and two who live near Philadelphia.

“After that I managed the Irish Pub when it first opened,” McGettigan said. “We bought the 19th Hole from a Mr. Weaver in 1962.”

McGettigan said during Sunday’s event that he has always felt welcomed in Galloway.

“Even then when we knew nobody, the people were always friendly,” he said.

And the business grew with their family, he said. In those days the McGettigan family lived upstairs from the tavern.

“We added an outside stand,” he said. “It’s the area that’s been enclosed and is now the back dining area. I leased that back then; I didn’t have time to run that too.”

His wife has a unique way of remembering the expansion of the building.

“We had another child and needed more living space,” Anne McGettigan said pointing to the area above the dining room. “I called that Kevin’s corner.”

She said that living quarters were expanded out of necessity.

“We had a pool table and it was difficult to sleep above it,” she said. “But we had a great life, going just downstairs to work – and work included sometimes dancing until 4 a.m.”

The certificate from the township cited Anne and Manus McGettigan for

making a strong commitment to Galloway Township by building their business with long days and nights of hard work.

They raised their six children in Galloway Township and involved them in the work

and management of their family-oriented business,” it reads.

Manus McGettigan is cited for being grand marshal of the annual Atlantic City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which has for 27 years included a float highlighting the family.

McGettigan also served as a Galloway Council member.

“McGettigan’s 19th Hole has always been a supporter of local causes, such as holding

fundraisers for Bayview Fire Company, assisting with annual Assumption Regional School golf outings and sponsoring the McGettigan’s Golf League which has helped develop many long-lasting friendships among Galloway Township residents,” the proclamation continues. “Family businesses have always been the “heart and soul” of Galloway Township and the McGettigan family has always conducted themselves as models for others to follow.”

Sunday Sept. 23 was deemed “McGettigan’s 19th Hole Day.”

Only God knows how many attended the celebration as they came and went. But everyone present when Mooney read the honor applauded and cheered. 

P.J. McGettigan in a familiar place behind the bar during the celebration.

Manus McGettigan accepts a proclamation from the township from Councilmen Jim Gorman, left, and John Mooney, right.

Wendy Heintz, left, and Lynn Fogle have seats front and center.

Mott’s Creek Pickers provide the entertainment.

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