ONE of County Kildare’s oldest business premises has closed down.
The Ivy Inn - which reputedly opened its doors to the public in 1849 and existed as a hotel on at least two occasions – is a victim of the recession and a consequent downturn in trade. The final straw came less than two months ago with the appointment of a receiver by Bank of Scotland, which has itself shut down operations in Ireland. Although the pub has closed, both the car park which provides all day parking and the rented offices above the premises will remain open for business.
“The closure is down to a downturn in the economy and a fall-ff in the food and drinks trade in particular; the business is unsustainable,” proprietor Paul Cullen told the Leader.
A native of Bunclody, County Wexford, who lives in Naas, Mr. Cullen took over the business in late October 2001 and with many years’ experience in the trade. He was banqueting manager at the Killiney Court Hotel in Dublin and was later a manager at Ambassador Hotel in Kill (when it was owned by the Quinn family). More recently he was the general manager at the Holiday Inn on Dublin’s Pearse Street.
“At the time I thought it would be a good idea and as far as I’m aware I’m the longest serving owner of the Ivy Inn. But this is a sign of the times we are living in. At one stage there were 22 or 23 pubs and hotels in Naas and now that has fallen to 8 or 9,” he added.
More recently the premises was better known for serving food.
“I feel our food was well regarded and many people said so. The food trade was steady but this too fell from about 200 units a day to 100 a day. The quality didn’t deteriorate but the numbers coming in did. At the same time the running costs were not getting any cheaper.”
Tony’s wife, Naas native Susan, passed away six years ago after battling cancer and their 18 year-old daughter Amy, is a former St. Mary’s College student. He feels it is likely that the receiver will put the premises up for sale but the existing tenants, a legal practice and a holistic clinic have lease arrangement which will survive the closure.
“I’ll be surprised if this is the last pub or hotel to close in Naas,” Mr. Cullen said. Receivers KPMG – the only entity likely to “profit” from the closure – did not return a phone inquiry from the Leader.