A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

‘Hard work, long hours and the need to constantly evolve in order to survive’

Ronan Hurley, owner of The Roast House in Co Kerry, talks about the challenges of Covid-19

Ronan Hurley, owner of the Roast House in Tralee, Co Kerry

Ronan Hurley, owner of the Roast House in Tralee, Co Kerry


Ronan Hurley is the owner of The Roast House, a coffee roastery, restaurant and more recently a delicatessen, on Denny Street in the heart of Tralee, Co Kerry.

“We are coming up on 10 years in business here. I come from an engineering background but have always had a passionate interest in food, wine and, of course, coffee.

“When the recession hit I was working in construction and my wife, Linda, was working in auctioneering so not the greatest combination with the disastrous state the economy was in. We had to make a decision, either emigrate or start something up from scratch and so, due to my love for coffee, The Roast House was born,” Hurley says.

“It has been an interesting although at times rocky road over the past few years, a lot of hard work, long hours and the need to constantly evolve and change in order to survive and grow, the greatest test having come in recent months with the Covid pandemic.

“Like so many within our industry we have suffered extended closures, the longest being the most recent one when we closed our restaurant on Christmas Eve not to reopen in that capacity until the end of July. Necessity does indeed breed invention and we added a shop and delicatessen to the front section of our business in April, in order to try to mould ourselves around the requirements of our customers, and also to ensure we could keep one facet of the business open should there be further closures to the restaurant sector,” he says.

“The summer, or what was left of it, has been steady. People may not have as much confidence as we had envisaged to venture out to dine in just yet, even with measures in place. As the vaccination rollout accelerates we hope this will change. We are very hopeful that by Christmas there will be greater momentum and more appetite for people to dine out.”