30th pub to open in thriving Dingle

A Gaeltacht town is about to open its 30th pub and continues to buck the trend in hard-hit rural Ireland.

30th pub to open in thriving Dingle

And the reaction of local vintners in Dingle is “the more the merrier”.

The Kerry harbour town has firmly established itself as a mecca for foodies, stag parties, hen parties, and weddings. It already boasts some of the most famous pubs in Ireland.

Its latest pub will be in a large extension of an 1830s-built, three-storey, attic structure in Strand St. It was known as Hannah Griffin’s, aka ‘Poggins’, and its last pub licence was issued 13 years ago.

While a protected structure in the architectural core of Dingle, it has become vacant and dilapidated.

Kerry County Council granted permission to applicant, Dawn Holloway, to renovate and extend the building and use it as a tea rooms/restaurant, as well as a bar.

However, it laid down strict conditions in the design and retention of features such as cast-iron fireplaces, windows, and ridge caps.

There were objections and an appeal was taken to An Bord Pleanala by a neighbouring retailer on its eastern side, John O’Connor of Kool Scoops, Strand St.

He said the existing building was “a lovely, old, quaint building”, but stated, in a submission, that what was being proposed on the narrow site was too big and should be scaled down to suit “the old worldly” front façade.

The streetscape, he said, was the reason tourists came to Dingle. Mr O’Connor also highlighted concerns over noise, late-night activities, and general rowdiness, as well as fears of a likely devaluation of his own property.

The planning inspector, however, noted that a similar, scaled development had been constructed on the adjoining site to the west, Strand House. However, he recommended conditions to preserve the peace of the area.

The board has now given the go-ahead, but said the rear garden is not to be used as a smoking area and he has also set noise levels.

There are also conditions with regard to conservation matters.

Dingle still has the most pubs for a town of its size. The local tourist office puts the overall figure for inns and pubs at 55, but local vintner’s representative, John Benny Moriarty, said the likely pub figure is “28 or 29”.

A lot of the pubs had diversified or found a niche market, Mr Moriarty said. “We have to, because there is so much competition.” His own pub is “traditional food, traditional music”, but pubs offered a variety of food, he said.

Mr Moriarty said many of the former pubs were now restaurants.

Meanwhile, plans are underway for a new car park in the town, as its increasing popularity led to claims, from some local residents, of Dingle reaching saturation point.

The tourist and visitor season is now year-round, and, with the granting of a further licensed premises, Mr Moriarty’s reaction was: “The more the merrier.”

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