Don Murphy

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - August 24, 2005
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Local restaurateur Don Murphy’s life hasn’t changed too much since he appeared on the MidWeek cover in March 2000. He still owns what is probably Honolulu’s best-loved Irish pub, can be counted on to throw some of the best parties in the downtown area, and he’s always at the ready to help raise money for the University of Hawaii athletic department. If you’ve stopped by the Merchant Street business in the last few weeks for your usual fix of corned beef and cabbage, you may have been surprised to find the doors closed. But there’s no need to worry. Murphy’s was undergoing a renovation, not a closing.

“We basically just did a face lift, to repair some termite damage and to get the place ADA compliant with new bathrooms and a ramp,” says the owner. Other changes includes more TVs and small tweaks to the decor that Murphy says keeps with the style of the building and the comfort you’re used to.

As the outgoing president of the Na Koa booster club and now president of the larger unit, Ahahui Koa Anuenue, Murphy has for years been a fixture around UH athletics. For some, his annual Pigskin Pigout marks the unofficial start of the UH football season.

What began as a conversation with former coach Fred vonAppen about the needs of the program has grown into a yearly event that has raised a total of $840,000 for the football team. Now in its 10th year, the fundraiser continues to provide the three things Hawaii sports fans love most: food, drink and football.

“We work almost year around making relationships with people who provide the donations,” says Murphy. “It’s amazing in Hawaii how people want to help and to get involved.” The fully hosted event costs $100 and includes suckling pig, shrimp and all the food Murphy’s is famous for. Silent and live auctions include high-ticket items such as ocean cruises and trips to see the Giants and Cubs play. Lesser priced items include autographed memorabilia, CDs and more. Swapping football and racing stories with new defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville is free.

And for those pigskin traditionalists who are looking to bid on something warmer, Murphy’s wife, Marion, will once again provide a handmade Hawaiian quilt. But bid early. Her quilt is always one of the first things to go. “It’s a beautiful bamboo quilt,” says the proud husband.

The event runs Thursday (Aug. 25) from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Merchant Street will be closed between Bethel Street and Nuuanu Avenue to handle the 300 supporters and coaches expected.

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