Pandemic hangover sees losses at O’Donoghue’s widen

Dublin pub saw losses after tax increase 66 per cent last year

The firm behind one of Ireland’s best known pubs, O’Donoghue’s on Dublin’s Merrion Row, still felt the impact of pandemic restrictions last year as losses after tax surged to €286,623.

Covid-19 restrictions resulted in business for the pub trade returning to normal only in January 2022 – more than six months into the year under review.

Now, new accounts for O’Donoghues (Merrion Row) Ltd show that losses increased 66 per cent on the prior year. That helped push accumulated profits down from €1.75 million to €1.453 million.

The loss takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €187,129 offset by €210,944 in Government grants received as the business continued to avail of State Covid-19 supports after receiving €293,528 under the same heading in the prior year.


As Covid-19 restrictions eased in the year under review, numbers employed increased from five to 20.

Last summer, the pub confirmed that with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions “we have found trade to be strong with great support from our regular customers along with a good return in the visitor market”.

Before the pandemic, the business posted profits of at least €430,000 in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The company’s cash funds increased sharply from €2.73 million to €3.29 million. Directors’ remuneration increased from €106,754 to €128,142.

The firm also paid out a modest dividend of €10,313. The amount owed by the firm in taxation and social welfare due within one year increased from €11,823 in 2021 to €563,895 last year.

The pub is owned and operated by the Barden family. It has long been associated with traditional Irish music and The Dubliners in particular who began to play at the pub in the 1960s.

The premises was built in 1789 and in 1934 began operating as a full-time pub when Maureen and Paddy O’Donoghue began running the bar.

Oliver Barden purchased the pub in 1988 and shareholder funds at the company last year totalled €8.87 million that included €7.42 million in a revaluation reserve.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times