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McDonald's first branch gets shake up

McDonald's on Grafton Street first opened its doors to the public when a bag of chips cost under 30 cent.

The chain's oldest restaurant in this country has undergone a €2m revamp, and has just been officially re-launched.

It first opened on May 9, 1977, and back in those days, a plain hamburger cost just 36c, a small chips was 29c and a cup of coffee was 22c.

Today it's €1 for the hamburger, €1.30 for a small fries and €2 for a coffee.

Diners in the restaurant in the 70s had the opportunity to try the American Big Macs, Happy Meals and Quarter Pounders for the first time. The menu today has over 70 items.

Joe Byrne, now a McDonald's owner operator of two restaurants in Waterford himself, was one of the first employees in the Grafton Street restaurant, and he has fond memories of it 37 years later.

"We opened to a magnificent reception from the public and boy we were busy. We had a much simpler menu back then but as Grafton Street was the first McDonald's in Ireland, we had to explain the menu a lot at the start with requests for soup, sausages and ham sandwiches," said Joe.


The company said that part of the refurbishment included the creation of 100 extra seats, bringing the total capacity to 300 customers.

The work was carried out over a number of months, and McDonald's said that it worked closely with conservation architects to construct a new facade. The building has a protected structure status.

The new facade incorporates several of the original features, including the white stone band and bronze window frame, which has been cleaned.