The Greatest Ever Leither?

mary-m1There’s a competition running down here in sunny Leith at the moment to find the greatest ever ‘Leither’. The historic port of Leith to the north of Edinburgh (though now part of the city) has had more than its fair share of characters and names such as The Proclaimers, Irvine Welsh, Sculptor Paolozzi and the Leith Hibs legend Lawrie Riley. However one name stands our for us so we at Bletherskite want to get some support behind our choice, none other than the ‘lady mayoress of Leith (sic)’ Mary Moriarty.

Mary, originally from Corstorphine was an antiques exporter but fell into a pub one day and never left! Her bar, The Port o’ Leith, is one of the most famous bars in the world among the nautical community. There can’t be a merchant sailor (or pirate for that matter) who hasn’t left their hat behind the bar, only to reclaim it the following year.

Entering the Port of Leith is like coming through the back of a wardrobe and appearing in the land of Bohemia – the atmosphere on a week night is slow and relaxed like a scene from ‘Trees Lounge’ but at the weekend the bar transforms into something magnificent! The oddball clientele appear to hail from the seven seas, the gay community, the local hardcases, artists and the odd pimp and his posse but this potential molotov cocktail is shaken but never stirred – by 10pm the bar is normally packed on top with dancing clientele and the whole spectacle is watched over by the ever present Mary Moriarty (we say ever present because some years ago a figurehead replica of her was mounted over the bar so she can never leave).

I have taken many a visitor round the bars and I’ll frequently say to them ‘We will end up in the best pub in the world’, they of course scoff at the claim during our preamble crawl around the King’s Wark. Shore Bar etc but within 10 minutes of entering the Port, warm beer in hand they were singing along with the crowd with a smile as broad as the Firth of Forth.

For services to the Leith Community, despite of the damage her establishment has caused my liver we want to recognise the fantastic Mary Moriarty. She is the last great character in our little corner of ‘Embrae’ and deserves all the praise we can pile upon her.

About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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