The role of the Irish pub as a cultural asset

January 24, 2024

Discussion took place in the media this week on the role of the Irish pub as part of our cultural identity and value. Pubs, and especially rural pubs, play a strong role as a hospitality outlet and a tourist attraction with a cultural value which should be recognised and protected. 

Una Mullaly in the Irish Times article

Sean Moncrieff, Newstalk

See extract from the Irish Times article below:
“When the Oireachtas committee published a report last November on developing rural tourism in Ireland, one of the recommendations was that the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media “conduct an audit of rural areas and of rural assets, with a view to identifying potential candidates for application to be inscribed on Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.” At the launch of this report, Smyth said pubs should have their cultural value recognised. I spoke to Smyth about this last week, and she expanded on that idea.“ The atmosphere in a traditional Irish pub isn’t tangible,” she said, “but we all know it.  We all feel it. It’s different from a modern, newly built pub or bar. There is an argument to be made to protect Irish pubs We’d be foolish to take them for granted. They are diminishing. ”Smyth is correct about the existence of an intangible atmosphere in an authentic Irish pub, be it rural or urban, that recognises. This is especially the case if they are also home to the playing of traditional music. I’m not sure what difference it would make to pubs closing across Ireland if the intangible culture that exists within them was added to a Unesco list, but perhaps it would encourage us to reflect on this aspect of Irish culture and place a value on it that might even go a little way to stem the flood of closures. Nowhere else on this planet does the authentic Irish pub exist in the specific form that it does on our island. If that matters, why don’t we officially declare it so?”