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The declining role of rural pubs in Ireland

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  • 29-03-2018 10:40pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 5,378 ✭✭✭


    It is ironic that in 2018, pubs have been allowed open on Good Friday. I won't be going to any though. Some of the better ones are closed and the ones that remain open are not worth supporting.

    The rural Irish pub has long been in decline but it held its own for a long time but since 2013, it has really began to die a death. Pubs in rural areas can blame a lot of things all they want .....

    The smoking ban, but pubs still got many in their doors post 2004.
    The recession, there were more in the pubs in 2010 and 2011 than there is now despite economic recovery.
    Cheap drink in supermarkets, well it has existed for a long time before the 2013-2018 period.

    The pub was always part of the rural life until now. In the last few years, nobody is interested any longer about rural pubs. I think that they largely have themselves to blame. Owners who lack interest, no entertainment laid on, a barmaid who is rude to customers, bar staff who talk about customers in a bad light, etc. are all common and I myself do not go to one particular pub for that reason. Barmaid is rude, dismissive, insists on listening to programmes playing bad modern Irish 'country music' on a local radio, and takes too long to serve.

    The main turnoff on top of their dismissive and often rude attitude is one has to pay dearly for this lack of proper service. Ordinary Guinness and lagers at inflated prices to put up with rudeness and unfriendliness. Go into a supermarket and go home and watch a good DVD with nicer beers for way less suddenly seems like a much better proposition than making the effort to go to a pub that does not make an effort.

    The local pub is dead and buried largely because it is its own worst enemy. The way they acted is why they are in trouble. No amount of gimmicks like opening tomorrow will save them.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,295 ✭✭✭n97 mini


    I would have said the biggest cause for their decline is the clampdown on drink driving. When people choose to live in an area not serviced by public transport, the car is the only way around.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭4Ad


    It is ironic that in 2018, pubs have been allowed open on Good Friday. I won't be going to any though. Some of the better ones are closed and the ones that remain open are not worth supporting.

    The rural Irish pub has long been in decline but it held its own for a long time but since 2013, it has really began to die a death. Pubs in rural areas can blame a lot of things all they want .....

    The smoking ban, but pubs still got many in their doors post 2004.
    The recession, there were more in the pubs in 2010 and 2011 than there is now despite economic recovery.
    Cheap drink in supermarkets, well it has existed for a long time before the 2013-2018 period.

    The pub was always part of the rural life until now. In the last few years, nobody is interested any longer about rural pubs. I think that they largely have themselves to blame. Owners who lack interest, no entertainment laid on, a barmaid who is rude to customers, bar staff who talk about customers in a bad light, etc. are all common and I myself do not go to one particular pub for that reason. Barmaid is rude, dismissive, insists on listening to programmes playing bad modern Irish 'country music' on a local radio, and takes too long to serve.

    The main turnoff on top of their dismissive and often rude attitude is one has to pay dearly for this lack of proper service. Ordinary Guinness and lagers at inflated prices to put up with rudeness and unfriendliness. Go into a supermarket and go home and watch a good DVD with nicer beers for way less suddenly seems like a much better proposition than making the effort to go to a pub that does not make an effort.

    The local pub is dead and buried largely because it is its own worst enemy. The way they acted is why they are in trouble. No amount of gimmicks like opening tomorrow will save them.

    I went to my local in a small village in Clare at half 7 last Saturday evening, 4 people playing cards..stayed for a 2nd as the owner bought me the first for my birthday.
    Went to the bar at the other end of the village, a few more people...

    If I thought it was going to be livelier tonight I might go out, but I probably wont bother, easier stay at home and save a 2 mile walk home, save a few euros and listen to my own music...
    So I am part of the problem but you can see why....


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,381 ✭✭✭✭rubadub


    Cheap drink in supermarkets, well it has existed for a long time before the 2013-2018 period.
    drink in supermarkets has gotten even cheaper.

    I was amazed to see trays of guinness for 20euro, and you only have to check bargain alerts to see loads of people were using readily available vouchers along with them. This was not some bogus offer which sold out quick.

    With vouchers you would get 5 trays for 80euro. That is 66.6cent per can, that is 52.5p in punts. I wonder when it was that price before.

    Smirnoff/captain morgan/gordons gin are all currently 20 for a litre in tesco, 15 for a 700ml. That works out at 71cent for a pub measure, and again knock a lot off that if you use vouchers.

    One of the few bars to have prices online is bull & castle. 5.50 for a capt. morgans. 5.80 for a longneck of heineken or bulmers.

    10% smaller 300ml bulmers are 40 for 30euro, 75cent a bottle. The same pub size 330ml heineken is also 75cent a bottle.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 20,407 Mod ✭✭✭✭Weepsie


    Just back from a few days in Achill. The pub furthest from Achill Sound offer a free collection and return taxi service.

    Now it could do with a bit of decorating, but between that and the reasonable price the pub should trundle along fine.

    There was never a big crowd, but plenty of people coming and going any night I was there.

    More pubs should probably do similar if feasible. They don't necessarily need to have the best drink, food, etc but help social engagement in rural areas as their main focus


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,085 ✭✭✭✭odyssey06


    Plus drink driving laws... lack of public transport or pub shuttle services... might see a resurgence if driverless cars become a reality.

    Too many publicans seem to think if it worked in 1990 it should still work... honourable exceptions like the achill one notwithstanding.

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,146 ✭✭✭Ronan|Raven


    n97 mini wrote: »
    I would have said the biggest cause for their decline is the clampdown on drink driving. When people choose to live in an area not serviced by public transport, the car is the only way around.

    What do you mean choose? The majority of people who would live in these areas grew up in and have their lives there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,920 ✭✭✭enricoh


    So basically u don't like the barmaid in your local? Thanks for filling us in


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,295 ✭✭✭n97 mini


    What do you mean choose? The majority of people who would live in these areas grew up in and have their lives there.

    I grew up in one of those areas but chose to live somewhere else. Public transport was high on my list of priorities when choosing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,959 ✭✭✭✭Spanish Eyes


    Price of drink

    Smoking laws (I know that is accepted by us all, but for old timers maybe not)

    Accessibility (drink driving laws)

    The fact that many publicans wouldn't give you a peanut with your drink either.

    There are many reasons. But these days most people will just stay home and do their own thing. In urban areas it is a little different as accessibility is a lot easier.

    Anyway I cannot see deeply rural pubs surviving, unless the police turn a blind eye to drink driving.


  • Registered Users Posts: 207 ✭✭venusdoom


    I'd be more inclined to say the rude staff would be in bigger towns and cities. Personally in my small town the bar staff are glad to see you and engage in conversation as they aren't particularly run off their feet. Where I live the major issue is the transport. One taxi man that covers a very large area and who is normally busy taking folk to the nearest bigger town with better night life. More than once we've been stranded in the pub and had to walk 3 miles home. Not great when ur in heels and it's raining! It does put people off from going into the pub. I'd love if there was some initiative to help pub owners get transportation for their punters to entice them back.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭dense


    4Ad wrote: »
    I went to my local in a small village in Clare at half 7 last Saturday evening, 4 people playing cards..stayed for a 2nd as the owner bought me the first for my birthday.
    Went to the bar at the other end of the village, a few more people...

    If I thought it was going to be livelier tonight I might go out, but I probably wont bother, easier stay at home and save a 2 mile walk home, save a few euros and listen to my own music...
    So I am part of the problem but you can see why....

    Its understandable.

    There's little incentive.
    People have spent a lot on their homes in the last ten years meaning it would take a lot to entice them to bother going to a pub.

    You have everything you need at home, so who needs to go to a pub? Okay for a special occasion or if you're on the pull, but I'd say for most people it's just not worth the effort.


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,959 ✭✭✭✭Spanish Eyes


    Should pubs diversify? You know serve coffee and buns/scones during the day making it a meeting place.

    I know some pubs do food and that's a draw. The pubs that will not survive are those that just have two or three taps and a manky jacks. They expect everyone to come to them rather than enticing people to the place.

    Anyway, rural pubs will be gone in a year or two max.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,363 ✭✭✭✭Del.Monte


    Doing well enough in these parts - the properly run ones anyway. My local is going very well and the landlord now runs three pubs in the area and goes the extra mile to make the places welcoming. Each to their own but sitting at home with a slab of beer doesn't float my boat.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭dense


    Should pubs diversify? You know serve coffee and buns/scones during the day making it a meeting place.

    I know some pubs do food and that's a draw. The pubs that will not survive are those that just have two or three taps and a manky jacks. They expect everyone to come to them rather than enticing people to the place.

    Anyway, rural pubs will be gone in a year or two max.

    I agree.

    Rural publicans hated anyone asking for a coffee!

    But I see no reason why rural pubs shouldn't push the whole cafe angle during the day time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,085 ✭✭✭✭odyssey06


    venusdoom wrote: »
    I'd love if there was some initiative to help pub owners get transportation for their punters to entice them back.

    Pub owners are running a business. They should start their own initiatives. Every other business has to entice customers in.

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭Cedrus


    I don't know how anyone finds time to go to the pub, my old man used to visit the pub most afternoons for an hour or so and again in the evening. I'd be doing well if I find time once a month. Years ago, pubs were a place for men to escape the wife and kids, they were places more luxurious than the basic houses we used to live in back in the seventies and even eighties, colour tellys, multi channel, CARPETS!
    I think that the smoking ban made pubs more attractive but the ever increasing prices and the lack of choice compared to the rising variety of choice in the off licences makes the pub a less viable choice.
    Drink driving laws have been around all of my adult life so i don't think they have influenced my choices too much, there has always been the one pint drive home or the big night and home in a taxi.
    Maybe I have been lucky not to have met any rude "barmaids" but I have seen far too many abused verbally, figuratively and physically by rude, lecherous, drunk customers so I don't blame them for being rude to some people.


  • Registered Users Posts: 611 ✭✭✭TheFarrier


    I'm living about a mile and a half from the nearest village in one direction and about 2 miles from another in the other direction.
    Go for one or two pints once or twice a week and I'd have a few more one night most weekends.

    3 pubs to choose from, 2 fairly busy ones, but my local is only tipping away.

    Transport is the big issue around here. I don't mind walking home from either village but I can see why people wouldn't want to. Guards have drink driving checkpoints around here 3 to 4 nights a week, and fairly often in the mornings too. This is what spooks me the most. I'd never drive after a drink but it's the fear of hitting a checkpoint the morning after.

    It's a joke too, preying on people that did everything right and might have got a drive home from the the pub or walked. Not helping anything only putting more people off the road

    With regard to cheap drink in supermarkets, that's a non issue for me personally. I'd prefer to drink a pint of mi wadi in the pub than drink a beer at home.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,005 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu


    TheFarrier wrote: »

    Transport is the big issue around here. I don't mind walking home from either village but I can see why people wouldn't want to. Guards have drink driving checkpoints around here 3 to 4 nights a week, and fairly often in the mornings too. This is what spooks me the most. I'd never drive after a drink but it's the fear of hitting a checkpoint the morning after.

    It's a joke too, preying on people that did everything right and might have got a drive home from the the pub or walked. Not helping anything only putting more people off the road

    If you are are over the limit, you are over the limit.
    Why does it make a blind pit of difference what time of the day it is?
    Please explain to me why someone over the limit in the morning is less of a danger than at any other time of the day.
    Should we be allowed to have three pints in an early house and then drive as it's the morning?

    I've been breathalysed in the morning after being in the pub the night before. No problem.
    You really would want to be drinking a lot, late into the night to be over the limit in the morning.

    Moderate drinking and a decent time gap before driving will not cause problems.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,920 ✭✭✭enricoh


    Del.Monte wrote: »
    Doing well enough in these parts - the properly run ones anyway. My local is going very well and the landlord now runs three pubs in the area and goes the extra mile to make the places welcoming. Each to their own but sitting at home with a slab of beer doesn't float my boat.

    Same as that, sitting at home drinking in front of the telly I just don't get it. The missus might have a glass or two of vino at home but I'd much prefer to pop into the pub for a pint or two after work. Great Guinness n catch up on the scandal!


  • Registered Users Posts: 951 ✭✭✭Neames


    I think the mentality of some rural pub owners needs to change.

    In my local pub (very small rural village), the owner will gladly make teas, coffees. He also offers lifts home because taxis are hard to come by. He looked into getting a good kitchen set up but couldn't justify the cost..but at least he looked into it. He keeps the place spotless and doesn't tolerate any boorish behaviour.

    On the other hand, I visit my wife's homeplace...again a small rural village. Attitude of the pub owner sucks, if someone asks for a coffee they're ridiculed. Forget transport home, the owner is drinking behind the bar. The bar has never been cleaned properly and toilets are disgusting. Owner complains constantly that he can't make a living to anyone that will sit in his cold dirty pub.

    Different attitude altogether ....one guy makes the effort and a decent living....the other .....well just doesn't.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 17,005 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu


    Rotten12 wrote: »
    If drink was invented today it would be banned outright, I think everyone has been effected by alcohol. Emergency departments full up daily with effects from drink, children neglected, murders, there is no good in drink. Let them close down. To many people have an unhealthy relationship with drink. Look up the aa in Ireland there are hundreds of meeting daily. Thousands attending daily. Get rid off it.

    Perhaps we should ban cars too.
    Think of all the misery and harm caused by road traffic accidents. Think about how cars add to our obesity problems and the environmental impact of cars.
    Get rid of them!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 233 ✭✭Hooks Golf Handicap


    Pubs were one of the few industries that didn't benefit from the Celtic Tiger.
    In fact it had steadily gone downhill for that decade.
    Reasons for it I would list as the following:

    (1) Millenium house party.
    Back in 1999 the locals pubs were looking at a 15 punt cover charge for Millenium night.
    Faithful punters were to be asked to leave at 8pm then turn around and pay on their way back in.
    The RDS had also booked some big DJ night which wasn't taken up due to crazy ticket prices.
    We all ended up throwing together makeshift house parties and they became the legendary affairs that went on until dawn and cost you 20 quid.
    Big light bulb moment.

    (2) The rise and rise of Wine.
    Back in the 90s we had Piat D'or, Blue Nun and Black Tower.
    The Celtic Tiger brought the taste for the real stuff.
    It became the ultimate tipple for a ladies night in.

    (3) Smoking ban.
    Roundly welcomed especially by those who only attended the pub once a week.
    The heavy drinkers were more likely to be smokers and more likely to vote with their feet.

    (4) Value of Off-Sales vs On-Sales.
    Diagio are very much to blame here.
    Not allowing a price cut even through the worst of the recession was unfair to the bar trade.
    Meanwhile cans of the top brands for sale in the multiples for less than what the pubs could get wholesale.
    It's as if the suppliers wanted the pubs to fair.

    (5) Crackdown on Drink Driving.
    Obvious for the rural pubs.
    It came as the final part of the perfect storm.

    There are other smaller factors like societal change, men can't go to the pub every evening now like decades ago.
    The quality of entertainment on tap at home has also greatly increased.

    For the pubs that survive it's hard to see what would change their fortunes.
    A huge bought of wage inflation or self drive cars might help.

    I remember in the 90s when rural pubs were being bought for the value of their licence, was worth 200k at the time.
    Now there's hundreds going unused every year with no sign of it changing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,381 ✭✭✭✭rubadub


    If you are are over the limit, you are over the limit.
    Why does it make a blind pit of difference what time of the day it is?
    Please explain to me why someone over the limit in the morning is less of a danger than at any other time of the day.
    +1, if anything there should be tighter limits in the morning. I would much rather encounter the average driver just barely over the limit driving home at lunch time or after work after a "sneaky pint". I would say the average driver at the same limit in the morning had a skinful of pints and has a fuzzy hungover head on them, and likely to have had a poor sleep.


  • Registered Users Posts: 611 ✭✭✭TheFarrier


    If you are are over the limit, you are over the limit.
    Why does it make a blind pit of difference what time of the day it is?
    Please explain to me why someone over the limit in the morning is less of a danger than at any other time of the day.
    Should we be allowed to have three pints in an early house and then drive as it's the morning?

    I've been breathalysed in the morning after being in the pub the night before. No problem.
    You really would want to be drinking a lot, late into the night to be over the limit in the morning.

    Moderate drinking and a decent time gap before driving will not cause problems.


    I'm not suggesting that being over the limit is ok in the morning, or at least I didn't mean to suggest that.

    I just meant that drink driving checkpoints at closing time never really bothered me seeing as I walked home anyway.

    It was the regular 9am checkpoint half a mile from my house that spooked me enough that stopped me (and others) having a drink or two on a week night. Driving a commercial van for my business means that I'm held on the lower alcohol limit and wouldn't chance it if I was on the road early the following morning.

    2 pints on a Wednesday night isn't going to make me a danger on the road on Thursday morning but Thats 2 pints for me and god knows how many for others that my local pub isn't selling now since the gardai took to breathalysing parents dropping there kids to school in the village.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,497 ✭✭✭Yester


    TheFarrier wrote: »
    I'm not suggesting that being over the limit is ok in the morning, or at least I didn't mean to suggest that.

    I just meant that drink driving checkpoints at closing time never really bothered me seeing as I walked home anyway.

    It was the regular 9am checkpoint half a mile from my house that spooked me enough that stopped me (and others) having a drink or two on a week night. Driving a commercial van for my business means that I'm held on the lower alcohol limit and wouldn't chance it if I was on the road early the following morning.

    2 pints on a Wednesday night isn't going to make me a danger on the road on Thursday morning but Thats 2 pints for me and god knows how many for others that my local pub isn't selling now since the gardai took to breathalysing parents dropping there kids to school in the village.


    As far as I know (and it's the rule I've been using for myself) it takes 2 hours for a pint to leave your system. So if I go out at 9pm and have 5 five pints it's all clear by 7am the followng morning.


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,381 ✭✭✭✭rubadub


    TheFarrier wrote: »
    2 pints on a Wednesday night isn't going to make me a danger on the road on Thursday morning but Thats 2 pints for me and god knows how many for others that my local pub isn't selling now since the gardai took to breathalysing parents dropping there kids to school in the village.
    god knows alright, but maybe your barman or publican knows too... If you are interested I would ask them, punters like yourself might have mentioned it. My guess is zero, as I know several commercial drivers who would not be worried about having 2 pints. You casually mention "early" they obviously might be worried if early meant 2am.

    I really doubt there are many commercial drivers in your local limiting themselves to 1 or 1.5 pints, or not bothering going at all when their plan was to have 2 pints for fear of being over the limit in the morning (of course depending how early)

    It would of course depend on their bodyweight, the % of said pint, and how early they were planning on driving the next day and many other factors. It just seems like you are blatantly making it out to be an unworthwhile/unreasonable activity to be checking people. Like it is just a money making exercise or something.

    If you are 7stone and lashing down 2 extra strong 9% pints down on an empty stomach at 12.20 am then you might well be over the limit for commercial drivers at 3am, but you specifically mentioned about parents on the school run so I guess it is later that they start.

    If you are 7stone and lashing down 2 pints on an empty stomach and driving at 3am then I am delighted that you are being deterred. I just wish laws and tests were brought out to tackle "sleepy drivers" too. I would love to see roadside tests in place. Some have this odd mentality where people would think it crazy and immoral to even consider driving with a drop of drink taken, but would drive while severely tired, when they could be in a far worse state.

    Many totally welcome alcohol & drug testing for drivers. I wondered if they came up with a sleep detection testing unit would they also welcome it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,685 ✭✭✭flutered


    n97 mini wrote: »
    I would have said the biggest cause for their decline is the clampdown on drink driving. When people choose to live in an area not serviced by public transport, the car is the only way around.
    what about folk who were living in areas not serviced by public transport


  • Registered Users Posts: 32,381 ✭✭✭✭rubadub


    flutered wrote: »
    what about folk who were living in areas not serviced by public transport

    mindboggling question TBH, I would like to hear your own take on what those people should do before others bother answering.

    Not sure if you are just trolling TBH.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,175 ✭✭✭dense


    Yester wrote: »
    As far as I know (and it's the rule I've been using for myself) it takes 2 hours for a pint to leave your system. So if I go out at 9pm and have 5 five pints it's all clear by 7am the followng morning.

    Have you ever been breathalysed in the morning?

    Ive always wondered is that "2 hours" per pint actually 10 hours after your LAST pint, if you've had 5 pints? 12 hours if you'd had 6 etc?

    So if you say had 6 pints in 3 hours, and you'd finished drinking at midnight, you wouldn't be clear till midday?

    Or 10am with 5 pints? (Drinking them faster probably wouldn't help....?)

    I know metabolism/empty stomach and everything else as well, but I'm curious about that 2 hour advisory.

    That said, I did use a personal breathalyser years ago and it didn't register over in the morning after half a dozen drinks, finishing about midnight. The garda breathalyser is around a grand, this was around a ton.


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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]





    (4) Value of Off-Sales vs On-Sales.
    Diagio are very much to blame here.
    Not allowing a price cut even through the worst of the recession was unfair to the bar trade.
    Meanwhile cans of the top brands for sale in the multiples for less than what the pubs could get wholesale.
    It's as if the suppliers wanted the pubs to fair.


    Can you explain that one? Diageo can not dictate publican selling price, or do you mean that Diageo wouldn't take the hit?


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