Christmas party scene "wiped out" for many venues
With the Christmas party scene taking a major hit during the snow blitz of recent weeks, the proprietor of one of Letterkenny's busiest entertainment venues revealed that it had "lost" around 500 patrons over one weekend through cancellations.
Enda Nicholls of the Arena 7 complex in Ballyraine said numbers had been down by 50% compared the same time last year.
"In the weekend before Christmas, we lost 500 people after parties were cancelled," he maintained.
Eighty would-be patrons had cancelled on the Thursday night as a result of hearing a severe weather warning on the radio.
"We're hoping that some will re-book their parties and a few have already done so. If we got 30% of the lost trade we'd be doing well," said Mr. Nicholls.
General Manager of the Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town, Danny O'Donnell said the Christmas party scene at the venue had been largely "wiped out" but voiced a hope that things would take a turn for the better around the New Year activities.
"We're not too disappointed though it was not what it should have been," he indicated.
The hotel only secured a third of the expected patrons on the Saturday night before Christmas. "Basically the Christmas parties were wiped out but the entertainment part stood up well." Last night, top jazz performer Imedla May, had the sold out notices posted at the hotel and over the New Year weekend, there should be something similar for an appearance at the Abbey by the duo of the moment, The Rubberbandits.
"We have to look on the bright side and hope for a better return in the New Year," said the General Manager.
To help compensate those patrons unable to travel for functions during the big freeze, the hotel is hosting a cut price night on Saturday, January 8.
"We've contacted all those who had to cancel their Christmas parties with us and are offering them a five course Christmas dinner on the night, the full monty, for €25." And an overnight at the hotel on the night will cost an additional €25.
Paddy Logue, proprietor of Logues of Cranford, said their Christmas parties had been down by around 40% in terms of numbers. "We were lucky enough to get away with that."
Music and dance entertainment had been wiped out in the build-up to Christmas. "That kind of snow as always going to be make it difficult particularly in a country area where people have to travel. The Friday week before Christmas was just horrendous. The thing was the snow lasted so long - over a month with a five day break from it. I never in my lifetime saw anything as long or severe," said Mr Logue.
He went on to praise the council workers and the Local Authority for the never ceasing work during the cold spell but expressed disappointment that the National Roads Authority had run out of salt. "But really there's very little you can do when it comes to such heavy snow fall. As the saying goes ‘man may plan, but God commands'."
He hoped that a period of ‘cabin fever' would now persist with revellers returning to the scene in the light of the milder conditions. "This is generally a busy week for us and we're looking forward to getting the people back out again."