Donegal woman is striking a blow with inflatable pub business

A Donegal woman is about to give up a steady job to launch her own unique business — inflatable pubs.

Caitriona Mulhern has worked for drinks brand Heineken for the past 12 years. But now the mum-of-two has thrown caution to the wind and set up her own pop-up-pub company.

Caitriona, 40, has already been inundated with queries for the idea, which she will officially launch on St Patrick’s weekend. Her aim is to combine managing her own business with family life.

Caitriona and partner Paul hope the idea will catch on.

She said: “I have been on the road since I was 18 years old and I now want to be there for my kids and step out of the rat race. Paul and I spotted an opportunity and went for it.

“The reaction has been amazing but we know the hard work only begins now.

“I know from working within the industry how difficult things are for publicans and I think about that a lot.

“But I feel people who want to drink or have a party at home are going to do that anyway. The pop-up pub will give them the luxury of thinking they are in a pub but being able to drink at supermarket prices.”

The couple will cater for everything from after-wedding parties, birthdays and even pubs seeking to rent the pop-up pub for festivals.

“We know we have a lot of work to do to perfect our customers’ experience, but it is our intention to offer a first- class product.

“We provide the unit, with a standing capacity of 80, along with the flooring, lighting, bar, optics, taps, and furniture for 20 sitting.

“Customers can then add to the package by including extra seating, refrigeration, extra marquee, lighting, a DJ or a dance floor.

“We will also begin catering for children’s parties with a ‘party hut’ where houses are spared mess and kids have their own party venue in their back garden.”

Having just turned 40 at the weekend, Caitriona’s intention is to fully enjoy the freedom of being her own boss

“Paul, who also works in the drinks industry, will be invaluable to this new business — well, somebody needs to drive the van and blow it up,” she said, laughing.

The pop-up pub will cost €300 and the customer will provide their own booze.

Although she appreciates how difficult things are within the pub trade, Catriona said she does not feel her business will take anything away from the industry.

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