Pubs bid to open early for Munster sports fans
Vintners in Killarney are applying for early opening times for pubs this Sunday, for the first time in history, as the town prepares to welcome up to 100,000 people.
The early exemption request comes as the Munster football final and the Ring of Kerry charity cycle will see thousands of people pour into the Co Kerry town.
A full house is expected as the Kingdom take on old enemies Cork at Fitzgerald Stadium, an added boon handed to Killarney by the delayed opening of Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.
Some 10,000 cyclists, including former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, will participate in the Ring of Kerry cycle ride which kicks off tomorrow.
Around 50 pubs are involved in the vintners' application to the District Court in Killarney today to allow them to open from 10am on Sunday instead of 12.30pm. Gardaí are not expected to object.
Up to six late-night venues are also seeking special exemptions each of the three nights, tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.
The special licences will set each venue back €410 per pub per night.
Solicitor Dan O'Connor said the historic first area exemption for a Sunday was being applied for because of the early time of the minor match between Kerry and Clare, which will take place at noon and because of the large crowds expected in the town.
The senior match will throw in at 2pm, which is earlier that the usual time of 3pm or 3.30pm. The earlier throw-in times were to facilitate TV coverage, Mr O'Connor said.
Under the Liquor Licensing Act, an area exemption can be applied for on the basis a special event is taking place which is likely to attract a large crowd, he said. .
Fitzgerald Stadium can hold more than 43,000 and gardaí expect thousands will also come to Killarney to accompany the cyclists.
Killarney has around 30,000 beds but accommodation is having to be sought as far as Macroom and Ballyvourney in Co Cork.