Early morning culture

As Irish people, a massive part of our culture is somehow associated with alcohol and as a result we are globally renowned for being fond of the drink. It is even estimated that Irish people drink about 20% more than the average European.

Therefore, one thing that naturally aggravates us is pub closing times. Leaving a bar at 2:30 am seems so early in comparison to other European countries, where clubs and bars stay open much later.

Yet astoundingly, there are a small number of pubs in the Dublin region that open from 7 am. These pubs are known as early houses.

Just a stones-throw from the old Smithfield fruit market and a few meters from the Four Courts building, lies the long-running early house, The Chancery Inn.

Also known as O’Reilly’s, the building was purchased by Peter O’Reilly in 1924 and later became a regular haunt for solicitors and barristers in conjunction with its adjoining sister pub, The Legal Eagle.

In spite of this, The Chancery Inn was originally established as an early house to serve the people that work in Smithfield’s fruit and vegetable markets as they would be finishing up work when the pub opens.

Canadian-born Matthew Gilligan spoke to The College View about his experience of working as a barman at The Chancery Inn since November 2012: “it’s really different to bars in Canada because most of them are sports bars with TVs everywhere, we don’t have pubs.”

During the week the pub boasts a relaxed atmosphere where regulars and strangers  enter and watch soaps like Emmerdale or football matches in the evenings. It is an early house that is really like a home, upon entering one is welcomed with a friendly smile, great craic and bargain beer prices.

The Chancery Inn opens its doors at 7 am every morning and at the weekend it can be full with people still going from the night before. A jukebox on the back wall of the pub blasts music from the 1970s to the current day, as an incentive to keep the party going.

“We usually have no security, but on Saturday mornings we have two security guys”, said Gilligan.

Naturally, a number of chancers pass through the pub during its lengthy opening hours and Gilligan cements this by saying: “on Sundays we close at 11 pm, but people are still here at 1 am.”

An early house is definitely worth a visit, preferably after a night out in Dublin city. The Dark Horse Inn on Georges Quay is also an early house which offers a ‘breakfast club party’ from 7 am until midday on Sunday’s with DJ’s playing dance and house music.

Catríona Hughes

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