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Irish Wake: Huntsville Pub Closing Its Doors

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) -Irish eyes are crying in Huntsville this week after word that the city's first and only Irish pub is shutting down for good.

Finnegan's Pub, a longtime Huntsville bar and grill, will  have its last-ever last call just before 2 a.m. Sunday when the South Memorial Parkway fixture closes its doors, ending 36 years of memories.

Finnegan's manager Doug Townsend confirmed the pub will close this weekend after owner Nancy Moore, of Canada, sold the property. Moore inherited the pub shortly after her sister Ellen McAnelly, who founded Finnegan's in 1977, died in June 2009.

Townsend, who said new ownership will take over Finnegan's on Monday, said he's uncertain whether he or his six employees will keep their jobs. The new owners have not released their plans for the building.

Besides cold Irish brew, Finnegan's is also known as a launching pad for several local bands, many of whom were stunned by the sudden closing.

"There's a lot of history here, a lot of bands that played here, we hate to see it go," said Frankie Gardner, lead singer of the Huntsville-based Whiskey River Kings. "We owe this place a lot for giving us a shot...Finnegans was one of the first bars that booked us. We signed with a record label back in January and are going on our first summer tour this year. We always hoped that if we ever made it we would get to come back and play at Finnegans Pub."

Long-time patrons of the pub said they simply could not believe the pub was going away.

"I'm not looking forward to Saturday at all," said Linda Darwin, who attended Finnegan's opening night in 1977. "I wish it weren't happening, but everything changes."

Employees say several bands who played inside the pub over the years will be on hand for a "jam session" Saturday until the doors are closed around 2:00 am Sunday.

(Our news partners at The Huntsville Times contributed to this report)