Slainte! The traditional Irish pub reopens after six months of closures

For the first time in six months traditional pubs, the "wet pubs", have opened their doors today, Monday.

While it's a different experience for many, it was a welcome sight for locals, especially in villages like Delvin, where the family run Gaffney's Bar and Lounge is a social outlet for many.

At the time of going to press, Carmel Gaffney, who has run the pub for 45 years, pulled her first pint of Guinness since March.

Enlisting the help of daughter Mary and son John for the re-opening, Carmel was looking forward to welcoming customers back.

Above: Pat Daly enjoying his first pint since lockdown in Gaffney's Bar and Lounge in Delvin. Headline photo: Carmel and Mary Gaffney opened pulled their first pint today.

Mary said: "It's been sad to see it closed the last six months. A lot of customers would be elderly and this is their only social outlet. We'd usually have a game of cards on a Saturday and Sunday evenings, a game of 25, and we'd also have music on the Saturday night.

"None of that can happen now of course," she adds, referring to Covid restrictions.

"As well as being a vital source of income for us, we had a number of postponed restart dates, like so many other family-run rural pubs, which was a hard thing to go through. But at the end of the day, your health is your wealth, and we've all done our best to get through this pandemic unscathed."

Mary says the months off allowed them to get everything in place for the opening.

"We've put in new tables and we have sanitisers inside all the doors. We have a large lounge area that already has partitioned seating, so we've taken every measure to keep our customers safe.

"And while we're excited, we're also a bit nervous but everyone has to be responsible for themselves and we hope everyone is mindful of the guidelines."

Pubs that don't serve food will have to continue to follow strict guidelines, including limits on customer numbers, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning.

Table service is mandatory as no one is allowed approach the bar. Other guidelines govern noise levels, employee movements and contact tracing.

Now, after the longest enforced closures the traditional pub has ever seen, the focus is on ensuring that pubs like Gaffney's can stay open.

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