McKenna’s Irish Shoppe was started in 1980 in a store in Ardmore but the story starts much earlier. Its starts with beautiful young Ann Gallagher leaving Ardara, Donegal to come to America. She brought with her a love of knitting and the ancient skills, past down from generation to generation of the craft. The story continues with Ann marrying a man from Co Monaghan and raising ﬁve kids in Narberth. Ann started knitting for the people on the mainline. Fast forward to 1980. Ann aspired to grow her business and a store was born! There are so many great stories from Mrs. McKenna including knitting an Aran Sweater that Jackie Kennedy famously wore in many pictures. The story continues when Mrs. McKenna’s daughter marries a man named Pat Durnin from Dublin and the store moves to Havertown. Pat, or Squee as many of you refer to him, and Nancy will run the store for years to come in two different locations.
In 1999 they moved to 1901 Darby Road and by then McKenna’s is a beloved institution. Many wedding rings, communion gifts and dance shoes are purchased here. Those same sweaters from Mrs. McKenna’s dining room are found in the front porch of the store. Chances are if you see a man wearing a Donegal tweed ﬂat hat walking around Delaware County then he bought it from Squee and Nancy. Hard to get Irish candy and teas as well as Irish sausage are a staple in the store also. A bit of home for the many Irish born folks and a legacy for the rest. All of this and great memories are made here as well!
Times change, the internet is new competition. In the fall of 2014 the Durnin’s make the hard decision to close. With a new idea, McKenna’s lives on! Customers of Nancy and Squee were always talking about opening a restaurant to cater to the Irish and Irish American folks. This is where Jenn and Brian Cleary come in. Squee and Brian hatch a plot to make the best Irish food in the area! A plan is made to repurpose McKenna’s into a restaurant and market that you can bring your family to for good home cooked Irish and American food.
The store is gutted and built back with the help of friends and local craftsman. A designer and furniture maker from Virginia makes the tables from old Tobacco barn wood. The beautiful front counter is made from the decking of an old ship wreck off the coast of Norfolk Virginia. The wood aged and dried in a barn and turned into a counter for us among other things. If you look up in the main dining room you’ll see tin from a plantation in Richmond, VA from 1863. The Durnin’s and the Cleary’s hire Chef Lee McCarron! Chef Lee is from Derry Ireland and brings his talents to McKenna’s. Lee’s goal was a simple one from the start. Fresh food that is locally acquired and made fresh daily (never frozen!). 95% of our food will be from less than 200 miles from Havertown. We welcome you to the New Repurposed McKenna’s! The same friendly faces and great service remain as well as the Spirit of Mrs. McKenna in everything we do!
Pat and Nancy ~ Jenn and Brian!
Always Fresh, Never Frozen
We receive multiple deliveries each week of farm fresh produce and meats.