Over and stout for the irish pub

Over and stout for the irish pub

I saw this on the BBC news web-site today.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7658139.stm

Seems that fewer people in Ireland choose to spend their time in the pub and lots are closing down. Opportunity or Threat in marketing-speak? Discuss.

Could we see a resurgance of session pubs where landlords endeavour to bring in more punters? Or will the session pubs struggling to get bums on seats every week find the door closed next time?

It’s a great shame - growing up in Ireland I always loved to get dragged along to the pub after a Saturday afternoon shopping trip and find the place full of families relaxing and sharing the craic, or to finish a walk over the Mourne mountains with a pint in a warm pub full of all manner of folk relaxing and generally being agreeable. Admitedly, with some of the souless establishments I saw during my more recent trips to Dublin and Kilkenny, perhaps it’s no bad thing some are going to the wall; but my fear would be that it’s the decent ones that will be lost.

Will we be left with souless tourist pubs with "live" music performers or will pubs welcome again real irish sessions with ordinary folk turning up to play, sing and the craic?

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

Great article, BanjoBongo. The BBC news story posted by stripthewillow is old news. I have been reading news articles elucidating grave fears about the death of the Irish pub since 2004.

Here is my armchair philosophising: Lots of really small communities in Ireland have more pubs in town than any other business. For example, several pubs have shut down in Mullagh, West Clare, but there are still three working pubs. I think a town with a population of about 160 is hard pressed to maintain three pubs, much less four or five (Willie Week being an exception). You then factor in the fact that the surrounding communities such as Quilty, Coore, and of course Miltown Malbay have pubs, usually more than one. There are a lot of pubs for an area with a fairly small population! I imagine it would be really hard to be a publican and break even there.

I think these analyses that people are watching their widescreen TVs instead of going to the pub are full of sh*te. This is hardly the first time I have head an article crying that the "Celtic tiger" is killing the pub because people spend their money on other things. Even if you can show statistics supporting a downturn in the pub license numbers, those stats are not going to attribute that to any particular cause.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

Rationalisation is all well and good for some.. what about the folks in the country like me, I used to have a choice of three pubs in the village, and now I have one. And because of lack of competition its become a right dive.
If i want a decent pint I have to get a lift somewhere. Instead I now choose to buy my beer in Tesco’s and sit at home in comfort.
Who knows maybe the days of kitchen sessions will return… may not be too much of a bad thing afterall.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

From citation by the right honorable Banjo representative from Bongo:

"…The drinks industry has cited figures from its "on-trade accounts", claiming that the number of these accounts - which include pubs, hotel bars and nightclubs - has fallen from 11,000 in 2001 to 9,500 now…

…in 2000 there were some 7,500 pub licences in existence…

…The result was that, by the end of 2001, there were more than 11,000 pub licences issued by Revenue…"

Aha! Like the housing bubble, y’all had a pub bubble. I think you’re still +2k pubs from 2000, if my math skills are working this morning.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

Yeah, it’s nice having three pubs in the village to choose from but how big is the village? I think it is a tremendous challenge for a small village to support three pubs so find it unsurprising when one or more goes out of business.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

another case of lies, damn lies and statistics then?

My local town in England recently went from 4 pubs to 1 and now back to three again in the space of 12 months. Not sure if it was coz my 2 sons left for Uni and then came back again, or whether that was just a coincidence

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

The link didnt work perfectly. Drangan is the second picture.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

That was a very interesting article BanjoBongo, thanks. The market has to adjust to the times, and though we may feel nostalgic for the "old days", I have direct experience owning a bar that was losing money, and it’s not much fun! So unless you want the government to step in and subsidize the pubs, you have to let the market run its course.

There is something else you can do about it, though. Get out and patronize the pubs more! The more people that do that, the less likely they are to disappear. And if you take the attitude that one customer isn’t going to make enough difference, you’re right, but the problem is if everybody feels that way, it does make a difference.

Oh, and SWFL, might as well abbreviate it to "pubble" 😉

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

Heh, savage, I look at that picture and think that I’d be surprised if it can support more than one pub. I do remember always being surprised at exactly how many pubs were in the small towns in Ireland to begin with, though… But then again, I’m from the US, where things are a bit different.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

When the three pubs were running they were really busy. Its just that the majority of the population live in the countryside and need to drive to the pub. Thats not possible anymore because of the new strick drink driving laws. And being out here there are no taxi’s.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

thats strict not strick 🙂

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

Yeah, SS, I have heard the explanation that new drunk driving laws have had deleterious effects on the pubs and I can believe it. It’s a far less idiotic explanation than the theory that plasma screen TVs are responsible for an alleged decline in pub attendance! How much gets back into dodgy stats, but I’m inclined to believe it has at least some impact.

The question I have then is what you do about it. It is too bad that the laws prevent people from going out to the pub to meet up with their mates, but on the other hand the drunk driving laws will save lives. There are tons of studies showing that alcohol causes more road deaths — in any country, not just Ireland — than anything else so I think you need the laws. I remember years ago I was in a pub in Gweedore and this guy, who was so p*ssed he could barely walk or talk, staggered out the door and into his car and then drove away. It was positively terrifying. Perhaps the issue then is the existing pub culture combined with a lack of public transport infrastructure in rural regions which now faced the realities of new legislation to which it has not yet adapted.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

I think the majority of people based their social lives around alcohol. These people will inevitably find it more difficult to adjust to the new situation.
Personally, I just find myself playing more music, as I find it easier not to drink if I’m playing music. I couldnt abstain from drinking in a pub if I didnt play music though. I have been the designated driver before and its boring as hell.
Who I feel really sorry for is the ould lads like my dad.
He is 72, widowed for the last 13 years, living out in the countryside with NO public transport.
These new laws have put him and so many like him in a situation where severe loneliness can lead to depression.
I dont advocate drink driving but I do think the limit is much to severe. most of these ould lads only drink one or two over the course of the night and could drive home quite safely. Sure my dad did it for 50 years.

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

*alcohol causes more road deaths*

We all know what you mean, but the real facts are that reckless driving (and probably poor roads and vehicle equipment) causes fatal accidents and people are generally more likely to drive recklessly when drunk, and that the law sets limits low in order to try and prevent this.

Focussing on "alcohol" (called so as if stout and whisky and wine were nothing else but a soulless chemical) as the culprit is a very human way of transferring blame to something we think we can control.

I grew up in a remote community in a time where drink-driving was a way of life, or else you had little social life. It was illegal of course, but enforcement was erratic at best.

Fatalities were higher than now, but not the carnage you might imagine, and it was observable that the drivers who crashed when drunk were overwhelmingly the same ones who also drove recklessly when sober.

Posted by .

Re: Over and stout for the irish pub

I suppose I should have said "people drinking alcohol" instead of "alcohol" but was being lazy with language as I wrote that at about 3am. And obviously people driving recklessly, drunk or sober, is dangerous. The problem is that alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, and it slows reaction times, so you might not be able to cope with a sudden bend on a dark and wet road or might not react in time to some other eedjit driving erratically.

The limit may well be too low. It may well be one of those laws the government passes because it needs to look like it is doing something to solve a problem and most solutions that would actually tackle the fundamental issues are too big, too much money, or impossible for politicians to deal with. I would say that most people are fine after one or two drinks. But you need a limit and need it enforced. You don’t want people who are blind drunk on the roads.

What you guys said about drunk-driving being a way of life is what I meant by the conflicts between this new legislation (and of course now having a political culture that pressures TDs to do something about things like road deaths) and the practices that have existed in rural areas for a lot longer.