Floating pub gets seven-day licence

A FLOATING pub and restaurant on Dublin’s River Liffey has been granted a seven-day licence in the Circuit Civil Court.

Carol O’Kennedy, counsel for pub baron Larry Crowe, told Judge Alison Lindsay he had spent close to €4 million on a complete refurbishment of the passenger vessel Cill Airne.

She said the ship had been fitted with bars, lounges and a restaurant and would be docked close to the National Conference Centre in Dublin.

Ms O’Kennedy overcame Garda opposition to the venture on the grounds the ship was not a premises and its presence would create problems in relation to the congregation of people on the quayside.

David Higgins, project manager of the Dublin Docklands Development Association, said the Cill Airne had been granted a 10-year licence to berth on the river. Architect Noel O’Regan told the court the ship would be stationary as the engine had been decommissioned. He said all necessary certificates relating to fire safety and ship worthiness had been put in place.

Ms O’Kennedy told the court there had been a precedent for the licensing of a ship as a pub on the River Liffey.

Broadcaster Eamon Andrews had run a pub and nightclub in the MV Arran which had been docked close to the Customs House. It had been decided to permanently dock the vessel as otherwise the owners would have had to apply for a passenger vessel licence, which would have meant the ship would have had to be powered in and out of Dublin Bay.

As a permanently berthed vessel it would only have to be moved into dry dock every three years for safety checks.

Judge Lindsay said she was satisfied that the ship was a premises for the purpose of granting the owners a drinks licence and restaurant certificate.

The ship will house two new restaurants, Quay 16 and Blue River Bistro.

The ship is owned by Dublin businessmen Larry Crowe, Brian Flannery and Robin Payne, who also own well-known restaurants One Pico, Bleu and Nancy Hands.

The Cill Airne was commissioned by the Irish Government in July 1961 and was one of the very last riveted ships to be built in Europe. Designed to carry more than 1,000 passengers, it suffered from the collapse of the liner trade following the increase in airline traffic and was given to the Maritime College as a training vessel. The college’s move to a new building with mock-up engine room and sailing simulators resulted in the Cill Airne becoming obsolete and she was put up for auction by the college.

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