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Owner of Crottys, Kilrush Martin F Mc Mahon in front of the outdoor seated area he has installed outside the premises. Photograph by John Kelly

Outdoor experience goes down well as pubs and restaurants open doors

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THERE is a bit more life in town centres all over Clare since the resumption of outdoor drinking and dining on Bank Holiday Monday.
In Kilrush, venerable establishment of food and drink Crotty’s added to the atmosphere, with their own purpose-developed outdoor area, right in front of the premises. Speaking after its first day in use, proprietor Martin McMahon was delighted with how things had gone.
“It was pretty good, there was a good vibe about the place. We have a nice outside garden area and there was a lovely atmosphere about it all day yesterday and last night.
“People are happy to be out and about again, to have someplace to go, someplace to sit and eat. There was a great ambience in the area outside the pub. It went very well, very well I have to say, very happy to be open again. Glad and relieved. It was hard while we were off.
“We put a lot of thought and effort into the outside area, we didn’t just put in a square and fill it up with tables. We put a lot of thought into it, we had flowers and things to attract people to it and attract people to the Square in the town.”
Martin said that they had a fairly early start, and business had been brisk as soon as the doors opened.
“We started at 9am for breakfasts. It was very busy with people from the Marina and that. There were lots of visitors around, this staycation thing is great, a lot of people were very positive about the whole place.
“In two weeks time we have the Aquapark opening and that’ll be great for the whole place.”
They kept going throughout the day, moving from breakfast to lunch to dinner, to late evening drinkers, and he was very happy with how each phase had gone.
“The last orders were at 11pm and we had the whole thing cleared by 11.30 and the whole area cleared. It went off very well, there were no hiccups at all.
“It got a bit windy during the day but we have sufficient rugs and heating in there to keep everybody happy.
“The feedback has been great from everyone. It makes you feel good when people say they’re delighted to see you open again or say that it’s great to see a bit of atmosphere around the Square in the town. It drives you on again.”
The premises has eight bedrooms, and could have opened a few days earlier, but opted to wait for the wider reopening.
“We could have opened last Thursday because of having B&B here but we said we’d wait until Monday, that it’d be great when everyone opened together.”
He had a lot of positive things to say about Clare County Council, who helped them to adapt to the new requirments.
“There’s been great help from Clare County Council. They gave me the opportunity to have the space out there. They gave two parking spaces per premises, I have two premises so that’s four parking spaces right outside my door and I could put my beer garden there.
“There’s a lot of credit due to Adam Kenneally in Clare County Council, he was a huge help to me. There was a grant available for it as well, which was mighty.”
Young drinkers have caused problems in other parts of the country, but he praised the youth of Kilrush for their behaviour.
“The young people have come in for criticism in the cities, but I think they’ve been very good around here. We were all that age one time, we all wanted to get out and enjoy ourselves and it is certainly being done in the right manner here.”
Overall, the restart has left him feeling very hopeful. “I’m very happy now, very positive. Going forward I feel very optimistic about the whole thing, I really do.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.