One of Glenties’ best known pubs is closing its doors after almost 50 years in business as it owners can no longer afford to keep it open.
Paddy’s Bar, which is owned by Kevin and Mary O’Donnell, is closing on Easter Monday. The popular venue was opened by Kevin’s late father Paddy in 1962
Falling trade and rising costs have forced the couple into the move. The closure highlights the pressures facing the pub trade in the county. Figures show that over 100 bars in Donegal did not renew their license last year. Just this week the Vinter’s Federation of Ireland called for a reform of the current rates system to help pubs survive.
Kevin O’Donnell said Paddy’s Bar used to be a hive of activity but it’s downfall is reflecting the scars of what has happened in the country and Donegal in recent years. He said the drop in trade has also hit other publicans in Glenties and the town is no longer the lively weekend spot it used to be.
The O’Donnell family lived above the bar when Kevin was born. He was 17 when he took over the running of the bar along with his mother after his father died. Kevin and his wife Mary bought the bar nine years ago and carried out a substantial refurbishment.
“In the last four to five years the pub trade has changed drastically with the smoking ban, lower drink driving limits and the increase in the number of shops and off-licences selling alcohol at cheaper prices,” he said. “This has made it hard to compete and people have found it much cheaper to socialise at home.”
Another impact on the pub’s trade has been the number of young people leaving the area to find work. Students who return home at the weekend don’t go out as ofte,n he said.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat this week, the couple were emotional as they contemplated a future without the business which has been part of their lives for so long.
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