Thomond Bar to open doors on Christmas Day to serve up a festive feed

 Manager Paul Walsh, staff member Debbie O'Connor, and Thomond Bar owner Réa Kennedy. Picture: Denis Minihane

A Cork pub is to open on Christmas Day to serve 100 free dinners to elderly people and families in need.

Plates of turkey and ham, stuffing, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy, followed by a chocolate Christmas log dessert will be cooked and served at Cork’s Thomond Bar, by a group of about 20 volunteers, staff from the well-known Marlboro St hostelry, as well as customers and friends of the Bord Fáilte-accredited pub.

Following the dinner, guests will enjoy light refreshments and entertainment provided by well-known Cork magician Ger Kearney and the pub’s popular in-house musician Jimmy Lee, both of whom are donating their time on the day. Santa will also make an appearance.

Planning for the event began back in mid-October when Paul Walsh and Réa Kennedy of the Thomond Bar approached the St Vincent de Paul with their idea.

“We felt we had a good year despite the recession,” said Mr Walsh. “We have grown, instead of retracting like many businesses, and we wanted to give something back.

“We know that over the Christmas season some people struggle to make ends meet and we said we’d like to open the bar on Christmas day to people who are finding it hard.”

In conjunction with the St Vincent de Paul it was decided the popular sports pub, which is renowned for its food and earlier this year won a certificate of excellence from Tripadvisor, would serve Christmas dinners to 100 people in need selected by the charity.

Brendan Dempsey of the St Vincent de Paul in Cork confirmed the charity had been in talks with the pub and said it would put forward a mixture of about 100 single elderly people and families for the dinner.

“We then approached our staff and they said they’d volunteer on the day — currently about 11 staff members have volunteered to cook, serve and help with the clean-up along with customers and friends,” said Mr Walsh.

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