Donegal loses 119 pubs in 17 years – a 26.3% decline
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Between 2005 and 2022, it was among the top ten counties which suffered the largest percentage reduction in the number of pubs: Limerick (32%), Roscommon (30.3%), Cork (29.9%), Laois (29.9%), Offaly (28.7%), Leitrim (28.6%), Tipperary (28.6%), Mayo (27.8%), Longford (26.5%) and Donegal (26.3%).
The stark findings are contained in ‘The Irish Pub: Supporting Our Communities’ which was commissioned by the Drinks Industry of Ireland Group and authored by Anthony Foley of Dublin City University Business School.
According to the report there were 453 pubs in Donegal in 2005 and in 2022 there were 334 – a 26.3 per cent decline.
The county suffered a nine per cent decline during the COVID-19 period from 367 pubs in 2019 to 334 pubs in 2022.
Overall, the trend of public house closures is reflected in every county across Ireland, with rural areas most significantly impacted.
“The importance of public houses as a factor for tourism is more notable in more rural counties including Kerry (with 413 pubs), Cork (856), Donegal (334), Mayo (337) and Leitrim (100),” the report states.
Across the 26 counties as whole there has been a massive decline over the past 17 years.
"The last 17 years – from 2005 to 2022 – has seen a significant decline in the number of public houses in Ireland. The number of pubs is down by 22.5 per cent from 8,617 in 2005 to 6,680 for the most recent period in 2022.
"This represents a closure of 1,937 public houses across the country since 2005,” the report notes.