London’s Dublin Castle landlord dies

Alo Conlon turned the Camden pub into a legendary music venue in 1979

The landlord who turned Camden‘s Dublin Castle pub into one of the capital’s most-loved music venues has died.

Alo Conlon died peacefully aged 73 on January 9, after suffering from cancer.

Conlon, who was originally from County Mayo, Ireland, invested in the Dublin Castle after moving to London as a stowaway in 1956.

He initially found work digging tunnels, gaining a reputation for his fearless nature in the often dangerous job.

After acquiring the north London pub, Conlon accidentally gave a fledgling Madness their big break. His son, Henry Conlon, explained the story to Madness-Central.

He said: “Seven young men came in and said they were a jazz band and could they get a gig? Dad thought ‘Oh, jazz, that’s nice and respectable.’

“He was not a little surprised the following Friday when a bunch of skinheads showed up. He thought ‘What am I doing?’ But the band was Madness and the crowd were great.”

Madness singer Suggs paid tribute to Conlon on Tuesday, telling Camden New Journal: “Alo was such a friendly chap to talk to and he gave us a break when we had barely started getting going.

“He asked us what we played and we said country and western, and jazz – we thought that would be the thing to say when going in to ask for a gig at an Irish pub.”

Since Madness, The Dublin Castle has hosted hundreds of legendary gigs, featuring everyone from The Specials to Arctic Monkeys. The venue is still one of Camden‘s busiest for live music.

Conlon is survived by his wife Peggy and sons Henry and Alo. His family have requested no flowers, but donations to Macmillan Cancer Support would be greatly appreciated.