Ireland set to extend pub hours

Later closing would put Dublin more in line with Europe

Mar 28, 2000 - Ireland is on the verge of extending pub hours to be more inline with the rest of Europe. The Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2000 would allow pubs to remain open later than 11 p.m. and would also elminate the so-called "holy hour" on Sunday.


The bill has already been approved by the cabinet and a justic department spokeswoman said it could be enacted by parliment before summer. It makes Ireland, most particularly Dublin, more friendly for European weekend tourists, who are used to later closing hours.

The new bill extends trading hours by one and a half hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and patrons will be given another 30 minutes to finish their drinks -- meaning everyone must be out by 1 a.m. It extends trading till 11:30 p.m. the rest of the week except Sundays, which retains the 11 p.m. law.

Irish pubs' long-enshrined tradition of shutting between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays - the "holy hour" - will be abolished under the bill. Great Britain eliminated a similar law, where pubs were closed daily in the afternoon, in 1989 - but some country pubs continue to keep those hours, particularly on Sunday.

Northern Ireland has had late opening for more than a decade.

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