Thursday, April 17, 2008


The pub with attitude...?

I was not intending to mention drinking again but a recent article in the Irish Times caught my eye. Pubs in Ireland are open most days with a few exceptions, one such day being Good Friday. Due to the difference between licencing laws in pubs and those where the drinking location is mobile, chiefly ships and trains, the latter have exceptions to the normally rigid laws. In the old days it would have taken many hours to go from, say, Dublin to Cork, and a train might start at a time where drink was permitted in bars but it might terminate after drinking would not have normally been allowed. So a little flexibility was written into the law applicable to train travellers, a situation which the rail companies have used to their advantage ever since (and why not).

The jist of this recent article was that Iarnrod Eireann had hired security guards on Good Friday at Connolly Station. You might imagine that a security risk of some proportions were imminent - perhaps some GAA trains bringing county supporters? Naaaa, we have very little crowd trouble at any sporting events in Dublin. Perhaps some political rally? Nope - Easter Monday would be the nearest (the Rising anniversary). The reason was that they had to open the bar at Connolly Station.

What sort of message does this send out? That we're a nation of lager-drinking louts, so desperate to get a drink and likely to get out of control that we need hired hands to keep order? Apparently, one of the tasks of the security hands was to check that persons entering the bar had a valid train ticket. And they weren't accepting 1.20Euro tickets to Howth either - only bone fide mainline rail travellers were wetting their whistles that day. The intrepid reporter managed to find some drinkers who had tickets alright - but to Oslo (if memory serves me correctly). They were en route to a stag weekend (that's an all-male pre-wedding party to you). And Dublin airport doesn't yet have any rail connection as you will know, and even if it did, it would hardly count as 'mainline'.

Unfortunately, Dublin seems to be gripped by this control element, ostensibly to combat rowdy behaviour in Temple Bar and the like. What sort of signal do these measures send to our visitors? Have a drink by all means, but have it outside Dublin city centre if you don't want some lads in DJs and attitude telling you your jeans aren't welcome in their establishment.

I'm working on some additions to the 'Hidden pubs' page (see link on left) and will feature establishments where you can gain entrance without embarrassment and have a comfortable evening's drinking. I would like to stress that this security madness is a feature of Dublin's Temple Bar at night and there are lots of places in and outside Dublin which are hassle-free.

Guess I won't plan to go pub crawling on Good Friday in Ireland--not a great day for it anyway:-) The laws are so different in different countries--someone should do a scholarly study on itLOL
Well that is certainly good to know!
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