'First Christmas closed' - Offaly pub laments loss of festive trade
A drink in Byrne's Bar over Christmas is a long-held tradition in Edenderry. Regulars gather in out of the cold, long-lost friends reunite after months or years apart as people return home, often from abroad, for the festive period.
However, 2020 will be very different as Byrne's Bar keeps its doors closed over Christmas for the first time since it began trading due to government restrictions.
As a so-called wet pub, Byrne's was not one of the lucky ones to be able to open today and instead must wait it out until January or beyond, a devastating prospect.
The pub posted a message to its many regulars on Facebook on Thursday night expressing its disappointment at the loss of its Christmas trade and tradition.
"We hope this post finds you all well. Last Friday we got some very unwanted and unfortunate news, as we all know now the government ruled to keep the traditional/wet pubs closed until the new year. So, it is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that we will be closed until then or until there are any further updates and changes to the situation," they wrote.
"I know this will come as disappointing news for some of you, it is devastating for all of us too. It is our first Christmas since we began trading to be closed. It is a special time of the year for family and friends to spend quality time together, create and share many happy memories.
"We are privileged that so many of you have created these moments along with us over the years and we are saddened that we cannot offer our venue this year to share in those moments with you," the post continued.
"All that we can do now is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and to plan for the future. We look forward to welcoming you all back in the New Year but until then, stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy this the most unusual of festive periods."
Local people reacted to the news:
Musician Kevin Cronly described it as "very sad news to take."
"Myself and David Groome are only raging we can’t do our annual gig on the 30th. Here’s hoping you are given the chance to come back stronger early in the new year," he added.
Jimmy O'Grady said: "So sad to hear pubs are not open at Christmas. I will definitely miss the craic in Byrnes on Christmas Eve night this year."
Amanda Farrell said she was "thinking of all the many Christmasses we have shared and all the wonderful treasured memories."
Avril Duggan added: "It’s so sad as Byrnes is on everybody’s list of places to go, especially at Christmas. Thinking of you all and wishing you better things to come in 2021."