A pint to prove in Ireland for JD Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin at the Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock. Photograph: Alan Betson
JD Wetherspoon’s rather eccentric chairman Tim Martin was in Dublin yesterday, holding court at the Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock, the pub group’s first establishment in the Irish market.
“It’s my first time here since 1973,” he mused. “It’s changed a lot, hasn’t it?”
Martin spent the previous two days touring the group’s nine pubs in Northern Ireland, before decamping down south on the train from Belfast. He got a short course in Hiberno-English cultural relations along the way.
“I got a taxi [to Blackrock] from the station. I got talking to the driver and told him who I was, and he told me what my strategy should be to expand a British pub company in Ireland. Then I went to pay him and realised I had no euros. I asked if he’d take English money. Big mistake – he sent me to an ATM.”
Wetherspoon has about 900 pubs in Britain, and hopes to open up to 30 in this country – deals for the the first four, including the Three Tun, are in place.
Martin also said England’s World Cup disappointment affected the group’s performance over the last month.
“A national mood took hold, and it wasn’t a good one,” he laughed.