A south Dublin suburban pub has been ordered to reduce noise from revellers and have no music or match screenings in an “outdoor dining” marquee that gave neighbours sleepless nights.
The sizeable temporary structure was erected last summer in the family-run Buglers pub car park at Ballyboden House Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.
However, the Dublin District Court's licensing judge heard it became "more of a nightclub scenario" and neighbours lodged an objection.
The marquee was set up after the government introduced regulations allowing pubs have awnings, coverings, canopies, parasols, shades, windbreakers, heaters or other similar structures to facilitate outdoor dining.
It was a measure to assist pubs in response to covid-19 and did not require planning permission.
On Wednesday, Judge Marie Quirke granted the pub its licence renewal but attached conditions about the marquee.
No piped music or singing
She specified that there must be no television, piped music, or singing and noted that it had already stopped. After 7pm, patrons must exit and enter through the main public house, she ordered. The pub must ensure there are no loud conversations inside the marquee, and the last food orders must be taken by 9pm. Patrons in the outdoor dining tent have to leave by 11pm.
Dorothy Collins BL, for the pub, asked the court to note that it was a family-run business, and the owner Mary Bugler wanted to emphasise that they care about their neighbours. Ms Bugler gave an undertaking to agree to the terms read out by the judge.
Eight locals, long-term residents in four neighbouring houses on Glendoher Close, lodged an objection to the renewal of the pub’s licence, held by Mary Bugler, who is in her 80s.
The judge heard the objectors had never complained about the local pub before.
However, after the marquee came, their barrister Padraig O'Neill added, "it later evolved into more of a nightclub scenario".
On Wednesday, he added that the objectors had not wanted to close down the pub.
Ms Collins for Buglers submitted that a leading planning expert had given his professional opinion that the marquee was compliant with the new regulation.
Judge Quirke heard evidence from six objectors complaining of “constant chatter of people drinking as the evening progressed”.
She noted they claimed music was piped into the marquee, and on occasion, there was live singing with speakers and amplifiers. She said witness Catriona Byrne detailed how she slept with earbuds and told the court, "I cannot have my windows open", and she had "enough of it".
When a match was screened, "if there was a goal, the whole tent roared", and people could not sleep. Paul Gleeson told the court he had to change his job because he was not getting enough sleep.
Mother of three Natasha McGill described "hooping and screeching of girls roaring at each other", which was "crystal clear from her bed". Judge Quirke found the witnesses were forthright and did not embellish their evidence.
She also noted that the regulation, introduced in a statutory instrument in April 2021 by Darragh O'Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, runs until November.