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'We survived the Famine, we survived recessions, but we have never been closed before like this' Fifth-generation pub owner speaks about impact of Covid-19

"We will be back open. Covid will not defeat us"

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Publican John Byrne at his pub Byrnes in Dundalk. Picture: Arthur Carron

Publican John Byrne at his pub Byrnes in Dundalk. Picture: Arthur Carron

Publican John Byrne at his pub Byrnes in Dundalk. Picture: Arthur Carron

John Byrne is the fifth generation in his family to run their well known pub on Hill Street in Dundalk town, Co Louth.

At the moment, he does not know when he will reopen. ‘Byrne’s of No. 10’ pub, after the Government’s decision to push back reopening dates from next Monday.

The publican is currently monitoring developments.

His is a family pub in the truest sense of the word. "It is the same bloodline for the past five generations, and hopefully my own son may take it over to make it six."

"We survived the Famine, we survived the First World War, the Second World War, the War of Independence, the Black and Tans and recessions, but we have ever been closed before like this occasion, because of Covid."

He said that he will be keeping an eye on the number of Covid-19 cases and this will guide him going forward.

"The numbers that I see coming up over the next week, if I see that graph going in an upwards direction, and if it starts to increase at any time at a high rate, I won’t reopen. But that is only my personal view."

He said that his staff had been in cleaning, polishing and sanitising in the expectation of reopening, all ready to go.

"I had a painter in last week getting some work done, but we were getting the place ready, waiting for the green light."

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Behind the bar of ‘Byrne’s of No. 10’ pub. Picture: Arthur Carron

Behind the bar of ‘Byrne’s of No. 10’ pub. Picture: Arthur Carron

Behind the bar of ‘Byrne’s of No. 10’ pub. Picture: Arthur Carron

But Mr Byrne said: "I’m not going to do a knee jerk reaction and open tomorrow. But we will be back open. Covid will not defeat us."

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"We will be back open. Covid will not defeat us" Picture: Arthur Carron

"We will be back open. Covid will not defeat us" Picture: Arthur Carron

"We will be back open. Covid will not defeat us" Picture: Arthur Carron

Meanwhile, he has been keeping in touch with his customers. He pointed out that the social aspect of the pub has always been very important.

"I think people miss that contact."

"The vast majority of our customers, we would know them personally and I would have their mobile numbers and they would have mine.

"We ring each other. If we didn’t have the mobile phone to contact each other, I don’t know where we would be."

"It’s a small little help, but at least it is better than nothing," he added.

Online Editors