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Eddie to pull in the lovers with Parnell revival

Parnell Street doesn't usually have a ring of romance about it, yet if publican Eddie Fitzgerald has his way, following his revamp of the old Parnell Mooney, it's where young city professionals will hook up in the near future. With an interior of deep red, the colour of passion, and a 'cool chic' design it could prove to be a romantic mecca for young Dubliners.

"I plan on opening a disco by the end of the year to draw people from surrounding areas like Phibsboro and Glasnevin," says Eddie, who is beginning to make a name for himself as a pub revivalist and for bringing new life to old haunts.

"There is no 'boy meets girl venue' in this part of town, and I don't know why there shouldn't be, and we have an open air bar upstairs where we'll be doing barbecues during the summer, grilling burgers and having great music," Eddie says.

"I like eighties' music like Fleetwood Mac and U2 but we'll be playing modern music for the young crowd," he says.


The 36 year-old publican first made a splash by reopening The Baggot Inn on Lower Baggot Street back in 2007. "We introduced a pull-your-own-pint concept into The Baggot Inn which I wasn't so sure about at the beginning but my dad saw the potential of it straight away," Eddie says.

Now he hopes drinkers will pull in a different way in his new venture. Eddie has the backing of his pub guru dad Louis who owns The Stag's Head and Kehoe's to name two of the family's pubs -- they own 20 citywide -- and who originally pointed out the potential of the Parnell Street pub as a young person's hangout to his son.

Eddie also knows a thing about finding love in a pub, having met his Brazilian fiancee Juliana, who he is set to marry next year, in The Baggot Inn.

"She came to work for us and her natural smile and friendly manner was a big hit with customers," Eddie says.

He hopes to make Parnell Street the romantic heart of the north city and has renamed the pub The Parnell Heritage Pub and Grill after investing 18 months in getting it up and running again.

"With a bit of sunshine, the open-air terrace on top of the pub will come alive and in the meantime the Rua Bar on the first floor is a great place for people to meet up," Eddie says.

"The process of reopening a pub was completely different this time. I got the pub in August 2010 and planned to have it open that November for the Christmas trade but only eventually got to open it two months ago. On the plus side, I managed to get the look I want in terms of decor, having the extra time, and I love the look of the place.

"I want it to be a young person's pub, from the age of 23 upwards and I want to draw people from nearby cinemas like Cineworld and the Savoy, along with staff from the Rotunda, and generally the young crowd coming into town of an evening.

"I believe there is a need in this part of town for a place where young men and women meet up and find romance."

Eddie was previously area manager for the family business and oversaw the running of pubs like The Quays in Temple Bar and The Grand Central on O'Connell Street. He says: "If I had to point to one thing which makes a pub a success, I would say it is the safety factor. It's the thing which allows a drinker to relax their shoulders, and the trust between the barman and the drinker and which makes a drinker want to come back and which brings longevity to a pub."

He learned the pub trade as a teenager working in family premises such as Palmerstown House and An Poitin Stil in Rathcoole where he grew up. He currently lives in Ranelagh.

"I didn't set out to revive pubs which have closed down but I love something I can hang my hat on. The Baggot Inn has a great music history although we've steered away from the music and concentrated on making it a great pub again," he says.

"The Parnell Heritage Pub has, of course, the connections with Charles Stewart Parnell who held meetings in The Rotunda Ballroom and then came over here and drank on the premises.

"These are different times, and you have to do things differently, and maybe try one thing and see how it works before moving onto something else.

"But I'll tell you how much of the long-haul we're here for. We'll be choosing a wall for what we'll be calling the 'wet the baby's head wall' for every new father from the Rotunda who comes in and has a drink, and who'll get to sign the baby's name on the wall. In 40 years time I want a lot of famous names up on that wall."

And if Eddie has his way, the parents will have met in The Parnell Heritage Pub in the first place.