The Irish Government is implementing a plan to re-energize rural areas by turning pubs into workspaces and community hubs.

Over the years small villages and towns in Ireland have suffered from population decrease due to people moving to bigger cities in the search of jobs and careers.

The pandemic saw a change in this, with many Irish people escaping the cities and moving to rural areas in the search for open space and quietness.

The Irish Government has now drafted a policy to create more accessible workspaces for people in their local area, in the hope of continuing this trend and enticing people to relocate to rural Ireland. 

Clifden village is in County Galway

Clifden village is in County Galway

The "Rural Development Policy 2021-2025 - Our Rural Future" includes a pilot scheme to support the use of rural pubs as community spaces and hubs for local services.

In many Irish villages and small towns, family-run pubs have been nestled in the local area for decades. Named simply from the surname of the proprietor, you will find a Murphy’s, McCarthy’s, or Curran's scattered across the country.

Dwindling populations in these areas have seen many pubs shutting their doors over the years. This new policy has the potential to use these forgotten spaces and hopefully, bring back the spirit within a community.

Hargadons Pub in County Sligo

Hargadons Pub in County Sligo

The development plan will also benefit publicans whose premises have been temporarily closed due to pandemic restrictions.

Other proposals include plans to:

  • Expand Local Transport Link services
  • Invest in high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure
  • Increase investment in the repair of non-public roads
  • Ensure that all public transport services in rural and regional areas are accessible to individuals with disabilities and reduced mobility. 

The Minister for Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said, “This Government approach to rural development highlights the importance of our rural and coastal communities.  Balanced economic development throughout the country, including the development of our rural and coastal communities, is necessary for the overall economic and social wellbeing of Ireland as a whole.”

While Minister Martin Heydon welcomed the initiative by saying, "our rural communities have suffered so much in the past year - but what we have seen above all is an extraordinary sense of resilience and community. Our Rural Future is about looking forward, building on that community spirit and enabling it further with a concrete ambitious plan to reinvigorate rural Ireland"

Who knows, your next work trip to Ireland might see you perched on a bar stool with your laptop while sipping a cup of Irish tea.