More than half of Irish people had a first date in a pub, survey finds

Almost 90 per cent say pub heritage is worth preserving

Romance begins at the pub, according to a survey by the Irish Vintners' Association, which found more than half of respondents had a first date there.

The pub is also still at the centre of family events, the survey found. Almost 90 per cent of more than 1,500 people said they attended after-funeral drinks in a pub, while more than 80 per cent went to one after a christening.

And while Friday evening after-work drinks remain popular, almost twice as many men as women said it was their favourite time.

The results of the survey were released in advance of the federation's annual conference in Athlone, Co Westmeath, on Wednesday.


Almost 90 per cent of people surveyed said pub heritage was worth preserving, and more than 60 per cent said the pub plays a pivotal role in local communities across Ireland.

Half of those surveyed visited the pub at least once a week, and most said they went there to meet friends and family. Staff friendliness ranked as the most important factor when visiting, followed by quality of service, cleanliness and availability of food.

The survey also questioned visitors to Ireland and almost 90 per cent said they had spent time in a pub. They said they enjoyed the music and entertainment, “the craic” and meeting local Irish people.

President of the federation, Pat Crotty, said the results of the survey were "very uplifting for the trade". He said it was clear the passion for the pub amongst Irish people was as strong as ever.

“We, like everyone else, want to see the Irish pub culture preserved, but it’s important that we build on our existing culture and heritage,” he said.

“We need to ensure we continue to move with the times, adapt to ever changing consumer demand and ensure we are giving people a reason to visit the pub.”

He also said the number of visitors who spent time in a pub underlined the importance of pubs to tourism infrastructure and cemented the “pub’s position as the number one tourist attraction”.

But, Mr Crotty said, despite an overall air of positivity, the trade was facing challenges.

“Brexit is already having an effect as the numbers visiting Ireland from the UK have fallen this year,” he said.

“The value of Sterling is a key issue for us as a tourist destination and with the negotiations around the UK’s departure from the EU only starting we can be sure of more uncertainty in the coming years.”

He also said excise duty on wine, beer, spirits and cider continued to undermine recovery in the sector, while the cost of public liability insurance was “causing havoc” for publicans across the country.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist