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East Clare Concertina: New Cd By Kate Mcnamara


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A bit of all those things, but probably more the random breath-testing and the price of drink. Most people find the pubs are now pleasanter without the cigarette smoke.

 

But another factor is that, the way the licensing system works here, if a supermarket wants to sell alcohol they have to buy a pub license, so pub licenses can be sold for a substantial amount of money.

So it's a combination of the price of drink and random Breathalyzer testing that's keeping punters at home, and the potential cashing in of their pub license that's prompting publicans to sell their pubs?

Some rural pubs are trying to fight back by organising a minibus service, most are only open in the evenings now and some only at weekends. Many places, including Miltown Malbay, only have half the pubs they did 10 years ago.

 

What commonly seems to happen is that, as elderly publicans approach retirement age, they find nobody wants to take on the pub they've struggled to keep open almost as a local community service, so they finish up selling the license for a tidy sum towards their old age (around Euro 180,000 was the last I heard), usually it goes to open an off licence, though sometimes it's for a pub in Dublin (which requires the purchase of two rural licenses). But they often don't sell the pub building and they may well continue to live there.

 

I read somewhere that the closing of the rural pubs is having a tragic effect on the older generation living in the area with an increase of suicides since there’s little to do and people are feeling more isolated and lonely. Is that true?

People are certainly tending to feel more isolated, not only with the pub situation, but also with the closure of local post offices, shops and petrol stations, as I mentioned. That only leaves the cattle mart and mass attendance, as places for social interaction... :(

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Guest Peter Laban
Many places, including Miltown Malbay, only have half the pubs they did 10 years ago.

 

Three went over the past ten years in town, Queally's, Fahey's and Cleary's all on the Ennis road. Not quite half of what there was, probably not even a quarter. All closures were due to retirement (if you want to include Mullagh in the wider Miltwon area that would add Conway's and Gleeson's and further out O Conor's in Cloonadrum). On the other hand, Friel's about tripled it's floorspace when the new owner extended it, Sean Malone opened in a spacious newly renovated building to replace his fathers old tiny two night a week pub, Looney's in Anagheragh (technically not Miltown at all) re-opened in a most rural setting and a lot of people go to the bars in the Armada and Bellbridge hotels. So you could wonder about how the actual number of drinkers socialising out has changed.

Edited by Peter Laban
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Many places, including Miltown Malbay, only have half the pubs they did 10 years ago.

Three went over the past ten years in town, Queally's, Fahey's and Cleary's all on the Ennis road.

Peter,

 

OK, I was speaking loosely and maybe that was a slight exageration :unsure: , however the ones you name were only three of the more recent ones, and without too much effort I can think of at least a couple more - one was the pub on the main street (I can't remember the name of it) near the Central Hotel that used to have all the discos, and more importantly there was Paddy Hennessy's, where the set dancing used to happen. (OK, maybe Hennessy's was a bit more than 10 years ago?)

 

Not quite half of what there was, probably not even a quarter ... (if you want to include Mullagh in the wider Miltwon area that would add Conway's and Gleeson's and further out O Conor's in Cloonadrum).

Yes, I was thinking in terms of "Greater Miltown Malbay", and especially of pubs that welcomed traditional music, but Ollie Conway's is only one of the three that have closed in Mullagh (where the number literally has halved), don't forget Meaney's (where Junior Crehan played in pre-Gleeson's times), and D'Arcy's, leaving only three remaining there, and they seem to be but rarely open. (I was there last night by the way, for a great night with Tom Carey in Moroney's).

 

On the other hand, Friel's about tripled it's floorspace when the new owner extended it ...

Yes, though it seems "the old crowd" stay in the original front bar/kitchen area, and leave the new extension pretty much to "the young crowd", but isn't Friel's nevertheless only open at weekends these days too?

 

Sean Malone opened in a spacious newly renovated building to replace his fathers old tiny two night a week pub, Looney's in Anagheragh (technically not Miltown at all) re-opened in a most rural setting and a lot of people go to the bars in the Armada and Bellbridge hotels. So you could wonder about how the actual number of drinkers socialising out has changed.

I think the problem is one of being able to drink locally, without having to drive (too far) somewhere, and that is a real concern for those of us who like "a pint or two" at a decent session, indeed I was randomly breath-tested myself (on the way home from Miltown Malbay) only last weekend, but I knew I was well under the limit. No wonder lots of people are drinking at home these days (and with the price of drink), whilst if they do go out it seems to be all at the same time, at a weekend and late in the evening, where formerly it was more spread out both through the day and through the week.

 

Meanwhile, the rural pub trade is acknowledged to be in serious decline: Pubs Sell Up as Takings drop or Urban-rural divide in pub trade grows

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Guest Peter Laban

I think the Vintners federation trying to keep the government from bringing the legal limit down to European levels accounts for at least part of the 'local culture down the tubes' articles we've been flooded within recent times.

 

Rural pubs have always been by and large a secondary income, an aside to something else like a farm, a shop or a pensionable occupation like working for Telecom Eirreann/Eircom. It still is to some extend but with the older generation retiring, the younger one has enough income not need the supplement and having to deal with the hassle of selling drink at night so selling the license for up to 200K, keeping the premises and having the nights off is suddenly an attractive option.

 

I remember Miltown having 25 or so pubs during the early 80s, the ones left are on average a lot bigger than the ones that were there at the time so I still have my doubts if the actual drinking space has gone down over time.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I got a copy of the CD from Custy's: see http://www.custysmusic.com/mall/CustysTrad...uct-3601849.stm. It's a bit expensive from the US, but worth it -- after a couple of listenings I would say that it's one of my favorite concertina CD's in any style.

 

well, i'm listening to the june 3 archived claire keville show on clare fm, which features a slew of wonderful music live in tulla from the opening of the clare fleadh there.

 

and according to kate, who plays lovely concertina sets on this show, this June release is titled, "Are You the Concertina Player?" since that is apparently what people ask her everywhere she goes.....

 

great show, packed with fantastic tulla music.....

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