‘Found-ons’ leave award-winning pub fearing forced closure

Lowry's Bar, Clifden.

The Galway pub voted best traditional bar in the country could face closure after it was raided four times for selling alcohol after hours, with over 50 people found on site in full swing one October morning.

Lowry’s Bar on Market Street in Clifden had to be cleared by gardaí on four occasions between June 2 and October 16 last year when customers were still being served after closing up time.

Superintendent Ernie White told Clifden District Court the State was only prosecuting three of those incidents, all of which took place after 2am.

Sergeant Dathai Cronin said when he knocked at the pub at 2.20am on June 2 he could hear people inside and the sound of clinking glasses. After over five minutes, the door was opened and there were seven people sitting inside chatting.

All the glasses had been removed from the tables and barman Donal O’Brien said he was unable to produce a receipt for the last drink sold.

Sgt Cronin said when he inspected the till he found a receipt for 2.10am.

Defence solicitor JJ Mannion pointed out that it was the June bank holiday weekend, which was the start of the high season in Clifden.

He added that the barman had cooperated fully by clearing the premises once Gardaí arrived.

Judge Mary Fahy remarked that the glasses had also miraculously disappeared before the door had been opened.

Sgt Cronin said he raided Lowry’s Bar on October 16 after spotting the publican Damien Joyce standing at the door directing six people to leave at 2.20am. Inside were more than 50 people.

Judge Fahy noted that October was “hardly high season, Mr Mannion”.

Sgt Cronin told Clifden District Court the atmosphere was quite heated.

“It did turn quite angry inside the premises,” he recalled.

See full court report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.