Home » Breaking News » Banner bar buzz is back as restrictions lifted
Miltown Malbay publican David O Brien welcomes customers Paul Mc Cabe and Michael Waters back to sit at the counter of his pub, Michael A's as he packs away the signs which prohibited them doing so before now. Almost all Covid restrictions were lifted at 6.a.m last Saturday morning. Photograph by John Kelly

Banner bar buzz is back as restrictions lifted

THE buzz was back on Saturday night with the return to normal pub and restaurant opening hours and the removal of a most pandemic restrictions for the first time in nearly two years. 

“We went from a stroll straight into a marathon,” said Clare VFI Chairperson and Ennis publican Charlie O’Meara, “but it was great to be doing it. We found people were in earlier and there was a lull for an hour or two after 8pm. We didn’t expect that. People were in great form and glad to be out. I think the pattern will settle in a while.”

Miltown publican David O’Brien, of Michael A’s, described the scenes as reminiscent of a St Stephen’s Night. “Nobody was talking about Covid for the first time in a long time,” he said.

“It felt like things were nearly normal again. We know it’s not over, but there was a release for people.”

There’s hope too that the staycation boost will continue. “Miltown got a real benefit with the rise in staycations and got visitors that would only normally come for Willie Clancy week,” David said.

“There’s real optimism now that things are picking up again.”

In the east of the county, Susan McMahon and Martin Butler were delighted to be able to welcome patrons back around the bar at The Cobbler’s Rest.

“Its like a cloud has been lifted over Bodyke last weekend,” said Susan. The relief was palpable and there was a great sense of excitement.”

Hope are high are across Clare that the pub trade will recover, but Charlie said continued support from Government will be crucial. “We need five or six months for the sector to recover, we need to get staff back too,” he said.

“Things won’t return to normal at the flick of a switch. 


About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

Check Also

WATCH: Casey grabs Irish U20 10k record in carnival atmosphere

Ennis Track’s Dean Casey secured a new Irish U-20 10,000m record last weekend in London, …