A county-by-county breakdown of the number of pubs closed in Ireland in the last two decades 3 months ago

A county-by-county breakdown of the number of pubs closed in Ireland in the last two decades

One county recorded a decline of over 30%, while another just 1.4%.

The amount of pubs in Ireland has decreased by a considerable amount in the past couple of decades, per a new study carried out by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).

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According to the report, there are now 1,829 less pubs in Ireland than there were in 2005 – a decline of 21.2%. 349 of those pubs shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Every county in Ireland has shed a pub or three in the past 17 years, with Laois the most affected of all; reporting a 30.6% decline – the only county to tip beyond 30% in this regard. Meath, in contrast, has lost the least amount of public houses, recording a decline of just 1.4%.

23 counties in total suffered decreases of greater than 10%.

The full county-by-county breakdown – counties in Northern Ireland weren't identified in the study – from largest to smallest percentage decrease between 2005 and 2021, taking into account the presence of new pubs being established during this timeframe, looks like this:

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  • Laois – 30.6% (157 pubs in 2005 / 101 pubs in 2021)
  • Offaly – 29.9% (164 in 2005 / 115 in 2021)
  • Limerick – 29.1% (478 in 2005 / 339 in 2021)
  • Cork – 28.5% (1,221 in 2005 / 873 in 2021)
  • Roscommon – 28.3% (254 in 2005 / 182 in 2021)
  • Leitrim – 26.4% (140 in 2005 / 103 in 2021)
  • Donegal – 26.3% (453 in 2005 / 334 in 2021)
  • Tipperary – 26.3% (525 in 2005 / 387 in 2021)
  • Mayo – 25.1% (467 in 2005 / 350 in 2021)
  • Longford – 25.7% (113 in 2005 / 84 in 2021)
  • Clare – 24.7% (373 in 2005 / 281 in 2021)
  • Westmeath – 24.4% (213 in 2005 / 161 in 2021)
  • Sligo – 24% (179 in 2005 / 136 in 2021)
  • Waterford – 23.5% (260 in 2005 / 199 in 2021)
  • Galway – 20.6% (574 in 2005 / 456 in 2021)
  • Louth – 20.3% (227 in 2005 / 181 in 2021)
  • Monaghan – 19.8% (121 in 2005 / 97 in 2021)
  • Kilkenny – 18.1% (226 in 2005 / 185 in 2021)
  • Cavan – 17.2% (221 in 2005 / 183 in 2021)
  • Wexford – 17.2% (297 in 2005 / 246 in 2021)
  • Kerry – 15.3% (503 in 2005 / 426 in 2021)
  • Kildare – 13.6% (191 in 2005 / 165 in 2021)
  • Carlow – 10.4% (106 in 2005 / 95 in 2021)
  • Wicklow – 10.1% (158 in 2005 / 142 in 2021)
  • Dublin – 4.3% (786 in 2005, 752 in 2021)
  • Meath – 1.4% (210 in 2005 / 207 in 2021)

In response, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland is calling on the Government to recognise the "alarming" data on display and reduce costs for pub operators, with a particular focus at rural level.

"1,829 rural pub closures represent businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration and a cultural centre which has long been documented as among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland," said Paul Clancy, DIGI member and CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland.

"The pace of decline increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the drinks and hospitality industry suffer the worst of all, with one of the longest lockdowns recorded globally.

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"Considering this sharp decline and trend we’re witnessing; we need to monitor this industry carefully and ensure all the necessary supports are in place to contribute to stopping this trend," Clancy continued. "Our high alcohol excise tax is a cost and slows the growth of these businesses and impacts their day-to-day operations and bottom line.

"Exasperated currently with inflation and the cost of living. We are calling on the Government to reduce excise tax to support the industry with meaningful measures that will be felt immediately and reduce costs over night for tens of thousands of business owners.”

The full report is available to view here.