NONE of the pubs in Tulla offer food, so last Monday afternoon was the first time anyone got to order a pint in the village since March.
Declan Hogan has been working at The Powerhouse since it reopened at 4pm on Monday and he says things have been quite busy since then. “There were about a dozen people in before six o’clock and there would have been three to four dozen more over the rest of the night. We’d have had about 40 at one stage, we’d have capacity for 55 to 60,” he says.
It was an exceptionally large crowd for a rural pub on a Monday night, as people were keen to have a drink after months without going to their local. There was also a fairly good Tuesday night, he said. “We had about a dozen. On a normal Tuesday night you might only have half that.”
Declan is expecting quite a good weekend. “We are, between the fact that it’s the first Saturday night out and being so close to the Mills there’ll be a lot of interest in the county final.”
While he feels there isn’t a need for it midweek, bookings will be required for the weekend. “In Tulla the crowd isn’t there, so it’d be just walk in from Monday to Friday. We’ll probably err on the side of caution and take bookings for the first few weekends. We are lucky in that it’s a big bar, so we can take 55 or so while adhering to the social distancing. That’s a lot of people in a local pub.”
When people arrive at The Powerhouse now their contact details will be taken, and they will be shown where to sit, which is obviously very different from the experience prior to Covid, but Declan feels people are happy to comply with the new requirements. “It’s all positive, people use contactless payment when they can. The door is closed at 11pm on the button and everybody is out at 11.30pm, there’s no issues whatsoever. People are just happy to have the local open again.”
He is delighted that there is some activity in the village in the evenings once again. “In Tulla there was no pub doing food so every evening once Supervalu closed down the street was dead.”
In the west of the county, Shane McMahon had only been running Murty Browne’s for six months when the pandemic meant he had to close down. At 1pm on Monday he finally got to open the doors again. “There was a good enough crowd. A few locals were in later, but the night was quiet enough,” he says.
It is great to be up and running again, he feels. “Oh delighted to be open, delighted to have the doors open and be back to some bit of normality.”
He hopes business will be able to continue. “It’s very hard to know, the numbers (of confirmed Covid-19 cases) are increasing daily. We’ll take every day as it comes, try and get everyone to use the sanitiser and to keep the social distancing.” The opening of the pub is a boost to local life, he feels. “It’s great to be back and it’s great for the locals to have it open again.”