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Irish pubs' hours



A pub in Ireland can legally open at 10:30 in the morning except on Sunday, when service must wait until 12:30 in the afternoon.

Closing time on Monday through Thursday is 11:30. On Friday and Saturday, it's 12:30, and on Sunday, 11:00.

At closing time, a publican is required to stop serving alcoholic drinks. The clientelle are allowed a bit of "drinking-up time," and then must leave the premises. The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (the official body governing public houses) states that "drinking-up time is 30 minutes."

There are exceptions, of course, when you'll get a drink after the legal closing time. But this is at the discretion of management, and not something to write about here.

(Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the aforementioned VFI, informs me that "A late drink is not at the discretion of management. To legally get a late drink there must be what is called a special exemption in place. That can only be granted by the courts.")

During the World Cup of 2002 in South Korea and Japan, some of the matches happened in the early morning, local time....

Generally, pubs keep the prescribed hours. In other words, they don't stay open late. If you want a later drink, you have to go to a "club." Even then you're only going to get a legal drink until 2:30 AM.

Another solution is to get take-away* from the "off licence" (beer/wine/liquor store) and go back to somebody's "gaff."

*In 2009, claiming the need to prevent youth drinking, Ireland decreed that off-licences would have to close at 10 o'clock. Some don't, or not completely — but, again, that's not something to to be described here.


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* Sometime between my departure from Kilkenny in August 2003 and my return** in January 2005, the Thursday closing-time of Irish pubs changed from 12:30 to the normal weekday time of 11:30. Before then, it was essentially one of the "weekend" nights.


  • Return to "Monday through Thursday"...


**I lived in the Republic from June of '01 until August of '03, and also from January of '05 until May of '11.