Louis Fitzgerald backs family’s west Dublin pub purchase

Gondola pub was ‘on the market late last year for a price in the region of €800,000’

Lois Fitzgerald is back in the pub acquisition trail

Lois Fitzgerald is back in the pub acquisition trail

 

Louis Fitzgerald, the veteran publican and hotelier whose family-owned group comprises 17 venues, is back on the acquisitions trail for the first time since the economy recovered.

Mr Fitzgerald has partnered with his son and nephew to buy the Gondola pub in Newcastle, west Dublin. It was on the market late last year for a price in the region of €800,000, sources said, and was sold ahead of an auction scheduled for October.

Mr Fitzgerald confirmed that he is providing financial backing for the purchase, and said the pub is to be renamed Annie May.

“My nephew, Eugene Spellman, had a pub, Roche’s, down in the bog [in Donadea in Kildare ]. I was an investor in that, but it has been sold, so now my nephew and my son have bought the pub in Newcastle and I’m supporting it,” he said.

He said the pub also comes with a development site in the outer Dublin suburb, a short distance off the N7, not far from Citywest. The pub was marketed by John P Younge auctioneers as a mixed-use redevelopment site on one acre.

Stag’s Head pub
Stag’s Head pub

He explained that the new name for the pub was an amalgamation of the names of his mother and his mother-in-law.

“Annie was my mother and she lived until she was aged 99. May was the name my wife’s [ Helen Fitzgerald ]mother. So for the two lads [ Mr Spellman and Mr Fitzgerald’s son, Barry Fitzgerald] the pub is named after their grannies.”

He said it is the only pub open in Newcastle, where he said there is an upsurge in demand for residential property. It is located less than a ten-minute drive from the Poitín Still on the N7, one of the flagship pubs in the Louis Fitzgerald group.

Mr Fitzgerald, whose group includes two hotels as well as well-known pubs such as the Stag’s Head and Kehoe’s, said his city centre pubs are trading well.

“But there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of properties for sale. We have a couple of properties lined up that we will try to redevelop,” he said.

In 2014, using backing from Broadhaven Capital and AIB, he refinanced €60 million of loans that had been acquired by Goldman Sachs from Anglo Irish Bank. Since then, his children have taken a more prominent role in the group.

“Niamh looks after the two hotels. Eddie operates the pubs, Barry looks after the maintenance of the buildings, and Louise does the marketing for the group.”

Most recent accounts for Burtse, a group company, showed sales of near €58 million and profits of €6.1 million for the year to the end of June 2016.