In October 1878 the ‘Sunday Closing Act’ came into place. This changed the opening hours of public houses and other premises which sold intoxicating liquor in Ireland.
The response during the first Sunday in Limerick was interesting and there was a little bending of the Act in the County:
“In Limerick city the publicans are allowed to open their houses from two until seven in the evening, but customers were very few, in fact, a more tranquil day has seldom been observed. In Limerick county the public houses were strictly closed all day, except to bona fide travellers, and in this respect there appears to have been a rather liberal interpretation of the Act as persons taking short excursions into the country claimed the right of being recognised as bona fide travellers.”
Today the normal permitted hours for public houses are as follows:
- Monday to Thursday: 10:30 – 23:30
- Friday and Saturday: 10:30 – 00:30
- Bank Holidays & Sunday: 12:30 – 23:30
- Christmas Day and Good Friday are the only two days that pubs must remain closed
Though on Good Friday 2010, Limerick pub owners contested the state ban as they wished to open to allow their customers to watch the rugby match between Munster and Leinster. The publicans won the case which saw pubs open in Ireland (Limerick only) for the first time on Good Friday since 1927. In 2012 the Limerick Pubs were once again allowed to change the legal hours to open due to another rugby match, except this time they wished to open at 10:30 on Easter Sunday.