Drumconrath going dry on Good Friday

Making a pint: Meath village to stay shut on Good Friday

All three pub owners in a Co. Meath village have agreed to remain closed on Good Friday and ignore the new legislation, which will see publicans all over the country legally serve alcohol for the first time in 90 years.

In January, the Government's new laws which lifted the ban on selling alcohol on the religious festival was widely welcomed by the majority of vintners.

Not so in Drumconrath, where publicans Dermot Muldoon, Pauline Fay and Pat Dempsey have decided to honour the time-old tradition and keep a lid on their alcohol

"Publicans get two days off in the whole year - just two so we decided to keep that holiday as well as keeping up the tradition and having a bit of respect for our religion," said Dermot.

Making a pint... Publicans Dermot Muldoon and Pauline Fay

"We've received a load of support from our customers, after all it's only one day.  We were known for closing on Good Friday throughout the world - it was something different about Ireland and now that's gone.  Slowly all the Irish traditions are being stripped."

Dermot added that he knows the other side of things too, having been in Dublin showing American tourists the sights one Good Friday.

"I had the day off so I could go up to Dublin with the American Tourists but ironically we couldn't get into the Guinness Storehouse

" I can see the other side of it and maybe there should be exceptions for such tourist sites, alike hotels but I think that we are doing the right thing by staying closed here in Drumconrath.

"Normally on the Good Friday we are off we head across the border for a drink - it's the novelty factor of having a drink on the other side of the counter.

"We're delighted to stay closed this year," he said.

Holiday... Muldoon's in Drumconrath

Pauline Fay of Fay's Bar said the day enables bar owners to completely switch off and spend the day with family.

"Quality of life has no price. I always spent the day with my children and continue to do so.

"This year again, myself and my daughter will do the stations of the cross before doing a bit of shopping together.  I don't think a bit of religion does anyone any harm.

Closed...Fay's of Drumconrath

"I've received 100pc backing from my customers, some of whom have said that even if I was open, they wouldn't come in."

Local Parish Priest Fr Finian Connaughton has hugely welcomed their decision saying: "This tradition comes back years and unfortunately a lot of Irish rural and church traditions have been taken over by the powers-that-be in Dublin.  It's city life versus rural life again. 

Dry... The Old Thatch pub in Drumconrath. PHOTOS: SEAMUS FARRELLY

"I would be totally behind these publicans and their decision and think it's a great stroke for this small village putting their own stamp on things.

"Most of the village would be Catholic so I wouldn't think the majority of their customers would have a problem with the pubs staying closed," added Fr Connaughton who has been the parish priest for 18 years.