Staff at one of Dublin’s most iconic pubs have refuted claims that the future of the Irish pub is under threat.

Delegates to a conference hosted by the Licensed Vintner’s Association recently heard how pubs and bars in Ireland will need to differentiate their offering in order to survive in a changed marketplace.

Despite this, a spokesperson for O’Donoghue’s traditional Irish pub has expressed her firm belief that there’ll always be a place for the traditional pub.

“Tourists continue to be attracted to our pub for the music and craic on offer”, she said.

Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association Donall O’Keeffe told those at the conference that the pub trade was undergoing significant change and publicans need to keep ahead of the competition.

The prospect of enjoying Irish pubs is often a key factor in attracting tourists from abroad to Ireland. Indeed pubs have been an integral aspect of Irish culture for several centuries.

According to historian Turtle Bunbury, ‘the first Irish public houses as we would know them were the off-licences , or store houses, where vintners (meaning wine merchants) kept the stock of wine with which they supplied the cellars of the Norman castles in Leinster and the Pale.

“The taverns where wine was sold soon became popular places for conversation, political debate and business transactions”, he described.

As nightclubs have come under attack in recent times for attracting surging crowds of young inebriated revellers, pubs continue to provide an alternative yet lively social outlet for rural and urban dwellers alike.

Despite this, over 950 pubs in Ireland closed down between 2007 and 2012, according to a Drinks Industry Group of Ireland report.

(Via Sunday World.com, by Sarah Bermingham)