Monday 29 March 2010 | Ireland feed

Advertisement

Irish pubs to open on Good Friday as locals worship rugby

Irish pubs will be open on Good Friday for the first time since the Republic was founded, after a court ruling ended years of "dry" holy days.

 
Traditional Irish pub in Dingle County, Kerry, Ireland: Irish pubs to open on Good Friday as locals worship rugby
A Limerick judge ruled that the city's 110 pubs can open April 2, because the city is hosting a major Irish rugby match attracting tens of thousands of visitors Photo: REX

A Limerick judge ruled that the city's 110 pubs can open April 2, because the city is hosting a major Irish rugby match attracting tens of thousands of visitors.

Such a judgment would have been unthinkable in the Ireland of old, where the Catholic Church enjoyed unquestioned authority from the public and deference from the government.

Commentators were quick to suggest that the judgment represented a watershed in the shifting relations between church and state in this country.

"This could be the beginning of the end of Good Friday, because now legislation will have to be changed," said a jubilant David Hickey, one of the Limerick pub owners who successfully sued the state for the right to do business like any other Friday. "The option should be given to let publicans open if they want to and close if they want to. Today was a huge decision in that direction."

His side argued that keeping pubs shut for the match between hometown favourites Munster versus Dublin-based rivals Leinster would represent an economic sin in Limerick, a city suffering from exceptionally high unemployment following the shock closure of its major employer, a Dell Computers plant. Accountants testified that keeping the bars closed could cost the city an estimated millions in lost income.

District Court Judge Tom O'Donnell agreed, ruling that it also would encourage the estimated 26,000 rugby fans attending to disperse peacefully and rapidly after the match – straight into the watering holes of Limerick.

While the Limerick public appeared overwhelmingly behind the move, the city's Roman Catholic priests expressed sadness that only one of two "dry" holy days on the Irish calendar – the other being Christmas – was being turned into another long boozy weekend.

 
 
St Patrick's Day
EU expenditure and by numbers
Advertisement
Advertisement

Best apps and eReaders for travel

Increasingly sophisticated technology is set to revolutionise the way we travel. Donald Strachan highlights the best of what is to come.

News Most Viewed

Sponsored Features

Child Maintenance Options

A new service is here to support people who need assistance with child maintenance.

10 ways to keep your ID safe

Identity fraud is the UK's fastest-growing crime. We list 10 tips to help protect you.

Can I claim for being hurt or injured?

Find out today if you could be entitled to £1000's in compensation at National Accident Helpline.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Holy Week in pictures

Penitents take part in the 'La Paz' brotherhood procession during the Holy Week in Sevilla

Hooded penitents take part in religious processions in Spain.

Pictures of the day

Cheeky meerkats, unlikely friendships, mud wrestling and more.

Moscow metro blasts

Female suicide bombers blamed for bombs at two metro stations.

Sponsored Features

Farm & Cottage Holidays

Fantastic breaks in Devon, Somerset, Dorset and Cornwall, plus the chance to win money off a top holiday.

World Vision UK

Find out how World Vision is tackling child poverty in Africa and help by sponsoring a child in Sierra Leone.

Telegraph ski hire offer

Save up to 40 per cent and have your ski equipment ready on arrival by booking in advance at Skiset.