Kilkenny rural pub closures continue

Kilkenny pub population down 15% - 34 less pubs since 2005

Sean Keane


Sean Keane


Delaney's pub, the Slatequarries, Kilkenny closed down recently

Delaney's pub, the Slatequarries, Kilkenny recently closed down

Over 70 rural pubs closed in 2018, according to industry analysis by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).

The figure is a stark reminder of the pub’s continued decline in rural Ireland. In the period between 2005 and 2018, 1,535 or nearly 20% of rural pubs closed; many were forced to shut up shop during the recession. 

DIGI’s analysis of Revenue figures show the rural pub population declined by almost a quarter in Mayo (-21% or 98 pubs), Tipperary (-22.5% or 118 pubs) and Cork (-25.6% or 313 pubs) down from 1221 to 908 in same period 2005-2018. In contrast, Dublin has experienced a net loss of only 10 pubs since 2005, a 1% decrease.

In Kilkenny, the pub population is down 15% or 34 less pubs since 2005 while the drinks and hospitality sector enable 4,654 jobs and €122 million in tourism spend in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency.

Delaney's of the Slatequarries closed recently as have a number of other licensed premises.

The majority of these low-earning businesses are located in rural Ireland and are particularly vulnerable to taxation policy, any sudden tax increases, any decline in inward tourism and economic uncertainty.

The high cost of alcohol excise tax remains a source of significant concern for rural publicans and, indeed, hoteliers, restauranteurs, off-licence owners, and other drinks and hospitality business proprietors. Ireland has the second-highest overall alcohol excise tax in the EU, the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits.

Ireland’s rate of excise on wine is 25% higher than any other country in the EU, while our excise rate on spirits is 26% higher than the UK. For example, €11.92 of a 70cl bottle of Irish produced whiskey, bought in an Irish off-licence, goes to the Government on excise tax; that is before we consider the VAT that is applied. That figure is 75% less if you buy the same bottle of whiskey in Italy, at €2.90.