ON Tuesday night Ann McNamara took a few minutes to speak to The Clare Champion, even as she catered for the drinkers coming into O’Neill’s Bar in Newmarket-on-Fergus for a last few pints before the pub would have to close once more.
Just eight days earlier Ann was in great form when she spoke about finally being able to reopen, but her mood was much lower on Tuesday, a few hours before having to close for at least three weeks.
She acknowledged a huge sense of disappointment. “Ah, very disappointed, devastated like. Ah, everything was going so well. No one said anything about off-licences, we’re doing everything properly and yet you have all the house parties.”
The regular customers are very disappointed that their social hub will be gone from them once again. “They’re all devastated, they’re all out tonight, we have the door closed because we can’t let in anymore. That’s the sad part, not everyone can get in for a last pint.”
While the closure is only for three weeks now, she doubts it will be as short as predicted. “I can’t see us opening in three weeks time, not the way the cases are going. It’s a pity really, they were all so happy and everyone felt comfortable here.
“They told us that the first time and it was six months. I’ve a feeling it won’t be three weeks, it’ll be a lot longer. It’s not looking good, there were 32 cases today in Clare.”
Ann busied herself with things like cleaning and maintenance during the first lockdown, work that has been completed, leaving her unsure how she’ll fill the empty days ahead. While she is very clearly disappointed, she says protecting people’s health is what’s most important. “Once we can keep it at bay and keep ourselves safe, that’s what counts.”