Up here for drinking, down there for dancing

IT’S enough to drive a man to drink.

Revellers in the landmark McEniff Árd Rí Hotel in Waterford have been told while they can drink in one half of the ballroom, the other half is strictly for dancing.

The bizarre scenario came to light at the annual licensing court in Waterford yesterday. Judge William Hartnett adjourned an application to renew the hotel’s dance licence pending clarification that the hotel, which straddles both Waterford and Kilkenny, met the fire regulations of both counties.

He said, in the meantime, it seemed the hotel’s patrons could purchase a drink in the Waterford part of the ballroom, but only dance in the other part.

The hotel’s general manager Robert McCarthy admitted the situation was “strange” but assured customers business was not affected as fire regulations were adhered to in every part of the hotel.

“The line of the county boundary runs straight through the hotel,” he explained. “Both sets of fire officers inspect the premises ... it’s a very strange situation, it’s quite unique really,” he added.

Fire officers from both jurisdictions stressed the matter was not contentious and they would resolve it before the case is heard again on November 5.

“In general we liaise with our colleagues in Kilkenny and ensure the conditions are met,” Waterford’s assistant chief fire officer Niall Curtin said.

“As far as I know it’s the only premises in Waterford that straddles the border,” he added.

Kilkenny’s assistant fire chief Frank Dunne, however, was sure there would be more dancing done in Waterford than in Kilkenny. “It’s a bit less than half of the ballroom; most of the hotel is in Kilkenny and most of the ballroom is in Waterford,” he explained.

“It’s a funny situation,” he said. “But public safety is first and foremost on our mind.”

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