Hammer blow for the Great British Stag Do as nearly 2,000 pubs in Ireland close over 18 years
- An average of 152 pubs in Ireland have closed every year since 2019
A blow for the Brits who flock to the Emerald Isle for a beloved pint of Guinness and live music in a traditionally cosy Irish pub – as almost 2,000 have closed since 2005.
Fears for pubs in Ireland as they shut their doors faster than ever, with an average of 152 closing every year since 2019, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has revealed.
The coronavirus pandemic is said to be partly to blame for the concerning trend – with 349 pub closures reported in 2020 and 2021 – in addition to high excise duties and rising energy prices.
Every county in Ireland has suffered a loss, the largest decrease was seen in Limerick with 32 per cent less pubs since 2005, while there was just a 3.4 per cent drop in Dublin.
Kathryn D’Arcy, chair of DIGI, said the figures ‘paint a stark picture of a sector that is fighting against continued decline’.
A blow for the Brits who flock to the Emerald Isle for a beloved pint of Guinness as almost 2,000 have closed since 2005
Traditional Irish pubs are a huge part of the Republic’s appeal and draw in large numbers of tourists
Following Limerick, Roscommon, Cork and Laois were the most affected counties – all losing just under a third of their pubs over the past 18 years.
The pubs are a huge part of the Republic’s appeal and draw in large numbers tourists – they are particularly loved by Brits on stag and hen dos.
More than 11.3 million tourists visited Ireland in 2019, which generated £5.1 billion and was a record year.
In addition to the tourists, rural communities are expected to suffer and there could be an increased risk of loneliness among elderly people.
Economist Anthony Foley said pubs play an ‘important role’ in Irish villages, towns and cities.
‘The cause and impact of these closures requires full consideration given the knock-on impact it has on the fabric of local communities as social outlets.
‘The loss of hundreds of these local businesses, employers, purchasers and community hubs has repercussions, particularly in more rural communities across the country,’ Mr Foley said.
He added: ‘The Irish pub is a significant component of the tourism infrastructure and the tourism experience which is based on hospitality and service provision.
Dublin (pictured) saw the lowest number of pub closures, with just 3.4 per cent closing since 2005
Every county in Ireland has suffered a loss, the largest decrease was seen in Limerick with 32 per cent less pubs since 2005
‘There are now 1,937 less locations for visitors to find and benefit from services such as food and entertainment.’
As a former publican, Angela Anthonisz said it was ‘very sad’ to see the decline in Ireland.
Now a Principal Lecturer in Tourism and Visitor Economy Management, Dr Anthonisz said: ‘The challenges to running a hospitality business are always difficult and rising costs, combined with many more people now choosing to drink at home will make it very difficult to remain profitable.
‘For rural pubs who may have benefitted from international tourists travelling to Ireland for scenic holidays and cultural experiences, the decline in British visitors in 2020 and 2021 will probably have exacerbated the situation.
‘In the long term the closure of these more remote facilities will have a negative impact on both the local communities and the overall tourist experience if there is nowhere to eat and drink and socialise.’
Pubs in Ireland are shutting their doors faster than ever, with an average of 152 closing every year since 2019
DIGI is calling on the Irish Government to reduce the high excise duties. Ms D’Arcy said this would make an ‘immediate positive difference’ to the sector.
‘Ireland’s excise on spirits is the third highest in Europe, our excise on wine is the highest in Europe and our excise on beer is the second highest in Europe.
‘We have some of the highest excise duties in the world and the second highest in Europe overall, despite the industry being at the heart of Ireland’s tourism sector and its international reputation as a vibrant destination.
‘The majority of the almost 2,000 pubs cited in the report which have closed represent the closure of a small or family-run business, the loss of a livelihood and the disappearance of a high-street landmark,’ Ms D’Arcy said.
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