Dublin pub owners hoping for packed boozers after all Covid restrictions lifted

By Dan Grennan

Dublin's pubs are ready to return to pre-pandemic atmosphere of live music, packed pubs and counter service in October.

The Government plan to ease all remaining Covid restrictions - including the requirement of vaccine certs to use indoor hospitality, social distancing and mask wearing - on October 22.

After more than a year-and-a-half of tough restrictions, we are all looking back to getting back to normality.

Workers in our favourite boozers across the city are no different.

Neil Horner of Walsh's pub in Stoneybatter said they are hoping for a full return to normality in late October.

He said: "Hopefully we will be back to normal - that's the plan. Back to normal and busy as usual. We will have the music in on a Sunday and a Monday as well.

"Most people would be confident with the vaccines and being in a fully vaccinated place but time will tell. We will have to wait and see but anyone coming down here is fairly comfortable."

Neil Horner of Walsh's pub in Stoneybatter said they are hoping for a full return to normality in October including live music. (Dan Grennan)

Walsh's have been able to stay open all the way through the pandemic by offering drink deliveries, collections and opening their coffee hatch.

Neil said: "We were lucky that we were able to keep going through the pandemic with deliveries and collections."

"We even have a coffee hatch out the front now as well which has been able to keep us going and in touch with our customer base. We have been able to keep all our staff as well."

Pubs have been one of the worst affected businesses through the pandemic with many being closed for huge parts of lockdown.

This had made some wary of the Government's promises.

Clinton Kennedy, the owner of Kennedy's on Thomas Street, said he is taking the October 22 promise "with a pinch of salt".

He said: "I can only hope that that is what happens - that all the restrictions are removed."

However, Mr Kennedy is happy to have live entertainment back with restrictions at for the time being.

He said: "At the moment we are back with entertainment. For the past 16 years, I have had some of the best entertainers gigging here. So for starters, it is great to have that back."

Mr Kennedy's customers would "100%" love it if all the restrictions and guidelines in pubs were removed on October 22.

He said: "A lot of people are very old-school around here. As much as they abided by the guidelines, they are sick of the whole thing.

"Every time they come in, signing the book because of traceability, show us your cert, sit at your table, put your mask on when they go to the bathroom. They want a return to that second biggest of words of 2021 besides Covid - normality.

Martin O'Gara, the son the owner of Tommy O'Gara's in Dublin 7, is cautious about a return to normality as some of her customers are "nervous" about it.

He said: "I hope that we are going to go back to some sort of normality but I don't think we will have the pub jam packed. Some people are nervous about it."

"Our clients would be very mixed so we would be very cautious. We just have to try and keep everybody happy as much as we can."

In Martin's eyes, it will be Christmas before the pre-pandemic packed pub returns.

He said: "Christmas will be like the fall of the Berlin wall because Christmas is such a busy period and people come from all over the world."

Sign up to the Dublin Live Newsletter to keep up to date with all the latest Dublin news.


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.