Sunday 25 September 2016

Festive season especially arrives early as Irish pub holds Christmas in July party

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 25/07/2016 | 20:03

O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook
O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook
O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook

The festive season has arrived a bit early in Carlow this year.

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Australians have long been familiar with Christmas in July, but one Irish pub decided to opt into the tradition with its own festive celebrations in the middle of summer.

Christmas is celebrated twice a year in Australia: as well as the national holiday in December, there’s a second unofficial party in July, the coldest month of winter.

Inspired by their friends and family down under, O’Loughlin’s Bar on Dublin Street, Carlow, held its own Christmas in July parties for years.

O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook
O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook

In 2013, the annual tradition came to an end and the pub was taken over a year later by siblings Leslie and John Proudfoot.

However, last Saturday the owners decided to bring it back with a bang.

Guests were invited to don a Christmas jumper and enjoy a rum punch as the pub was decked out with festive decorations and the DJ played classic Christmas tunes.

“It was an absolutely incredible party, everyone had a great time and there was loads of enthusiasm. People have great spirit down here,” Leslie told Independent.ie.

O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook
O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook

She said she and her brother were impressed by the stories they’d heard of summer Christmas parties in the past, and wanted to give it a go themselves this year.

“A few of the staff got together and decided to have a little bit of fun in July by bringing out the Christmas decorations and getting into the spirit of things, that’s how it originated.

“We heard the parties went down extremely well so this year we said we’d have a go and reinstate it. Our pub here is very much a local pub with very loyal customers, they’ve been around for decades and they’d have been part of the whole history of the place.

“They were delighted that it came back and they were all here supporting it. Most of the customers here are regular locals and they really got into it,” she said.

As well as the swathes of Santa hats, one of their regulars dressed up in a full Santa Claus suit, while another wore a reindeer onesie to act as his Rudolph.

“I was quite surprised, we had great fun. Even the guards had a bit of fun, they were passing by and got out of the car and they said, ‘For God’s sake, it would only happen at O’Loughlin’s, you mad bunch!’”

While Australians celebrate in July due to the cold weather, the crowd at O’Loughlin’s gathered around the fans as temperatures soared over the weekend.

“It was very hot to be wearing all the Christmas jumpers and Christmas hats. It was very, very warm on Saturday, we had all the fans going and all the doors open,” Leslie said.

O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook
O'Loughlin's Christmas in July party. Photo: Facebook

She added that the party was such a success that they’re already looking forward to next year’s celebrations.

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