In Limburg, over 50 Irish Pub Owners and Managers from Germany, representing 190 pubs, had an historic meeting on the 5th and 6th of May. Future plans were made to meet in Ireland for a ‘Second Gathering’ and a German representative was appointed as a Trustee and World Council member of the Irish Pubs Global Federation.

In total there are estimated to be over 800 Irish themed pubs in Germany, spread through a population of 90 million with various ‘degrees of Irishness’.  Together their combined turnover is estimated at €1bn.  In a town with one lone Irishman, Paddy Byrne, owner of ‘The Irish Pub’, it was his Christmas, and he suggested it was the largest Irish gathering in Limburg since the First World War!  Back then, over 2,000 Irishmen were held captive there in a prisoner-of-war camp.

Jim Murdock of  Murdock’s Irish Pub in Augsburg, was elected as German Representative on the Irish Pubs Global Federation and a Trustee.  Also, it was agreed that the next meeting of German Owners and Managers would take place in Ireland at the 2nd GATHERING of Irish Pubs Global which will take place in Dublin in November of this year.  This event will build on the success of the 2013 Gathering and, with such a large group coming from Germany, joining other pub owners from around the world, it will be a major boost to the event.

Shay Dwyer,  said that it is historic that so many pub owners and managers are coming together for a common purpose.  Working with his brother Derek, they are founder members the German Association, now part of the evolving Irish Pubs Global Federation.   “There is strength in numbers” he said, while adding that it is now time for Irish drink and food brands globally, supported by the agencies in Tourism, Food and Enterprise, to get behind Irish Pubs Global.

Shay also spoke of the symbolic significance of Limburg.  On concluding the conference, several delegates visited the former prisoner camp and graveyard which is said to host the largest Celtic cross outside Ireland, built as a monument to what happened,

In 1916, Apparently the German Government of the time gathered these Irishmen in detention from all over Germany with an ulterior motive – namely, with the plan that by bringing them together that they would organise and return to Ireland to rebel against the British.

It was also in Limburg that the German’s hosted Roger Casement to meet the prisoners and recruit amongst the prisoners for the Irish cause.  Of course they then sent Casement home to Ireland in a submarine, loaded with guns, from which Roger Casement at Bana Strand, near Tralee, having come ashore from the submarine on his way home.  It is said that a tram ticket in Casement’s pocket from Limberg proved where he had been…