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‘A pub is now charging €9.50 for a glass of wine. Why would you want to go out?’

It’s peak tourist season in Ireland, and not everyone is happy with the prices

The height of the tourist season is upon us but not everyone is happy with what is on offer in Ireland.

A reader who asked not to be named contacted us after becoming enraged with the value, or lack of it, on the table for visitors to a stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way. “This needs to be brought to the attention of relevant people and called out for what it is,” her mail starts. “Our restaurants pubs etc, are ripping off the people. I was so embarrassed last week. A group of 10 tourists came for five days trip to Ireland. We took them out for lunch, meal etc. In an establishment in Co Clare the cheapest wine is €33 now and the very same wine is €7 online.”

“A cafe charged €4.25 for a latte [and] a pub is now charging €9.50 for a glass of wine. Why would you want to go out? I resent having to pay this much for wine but when you go out with a group or family, you feel under pressure as they want to have a drink. The hospitality industry is totally taking advantage of the people and it’s very embarrassing and bad for tourism. They totally need to be called out on it.”

We decided to share these views on social media and ask what people made of them.


“These are not isolated examples. This is the norm,” said Gary Duffy. “Many restaurants are price gouging permanently and they get away with it because customers keep coming back.”

“Our local pub does a bottle of wine for €14. It’s the same one that’s sold in the local shop for about a tenner. So I think that’s good value. I don’t mind expensive wine in a restaurant if it’s not the same as the one from Centra,” wrote Sarah Molloy.

Caroline Collins said she believed there is “a lazy stereotype of ‘rip-off Ireland’ that does massive injustice to small producers and good businesses who are having a tough time. No one is forced to over-pay but they do, almost so they can complain later. Much better to focus on the businesses doing good.”

Niamh O’Mahony was in a restaurant in Dublin where a small glass of wine cost €8. “The cheapest bottle available was €46. Sharing a couple of tapas-style dishes was €50 each [for] a total bill for two. Rising costs became the theme of the night.”


Drinks giant Diageo will raise the price of a pint by 4 cent from August, on top of a 12 cent hike already imposed since February. It will apply to brands such as Guinness, Smithwick’s, Rockshore, Harp, Hop House 13 and Carlsberg. Report: Ellen O’Regan #Ireland #Pints #Guinness #FYP

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Serena Dorrian also had wine on her mind. “In a hotel restaurant this week and served a warm bottle of white wine for €39. Too mean to chill the wine now, saving a few bob by turning off a fridge. The service in some of these hotels for the prices they are charging is embarrassing.”

“I really think it’s all about context,” said chef and food writer JP McMahon in response to the original tweet. “Also, minimum wage is now nearly €12 which means everything gets more expensive. Why don’t people understand this? Why do we feel food and wine isn’t good value but smart phones and branded clothes are. If I buy a bottle of wine for €9. I need to add Vat of 23 per cent and then mark up at 65 per cent. This is the industry standard. What makes wine expensive in Ireland is tax, vat, wages, rent and energy. It’s hard to get a good bottle of wine for under €35 in a restaurant now due to all these factors.”

“A restauranteur from Florida dined with us recently,” responded Baz Donovan from the Trieste Cafe and Wine Bar in Galway. “Their Sales Tax (VAT) is a flat 8 per cent for food and alcohol. He nearly fell off his seat when I said it’s 23 per cent for alcohol in Ireland. €8.05 from a €35 bottle of Wine goes to Revenue! And we wonder why prices are deemed high!”

The Wicklow Escape also pointed to higher taxes in Ireland. “It’s tough in hospitality right now. The 9 per cent VAT on all sales [and] 23 per cent on drink with very little to claim back other than utilities makes it harder.”

Whatever about wine, the coffee is another story. A reader called Darragh got in touch in connection with a four-star hotel in Dublin where he was charged €5.50 for a cappuccino. “I was dumbfounded,” he said simply.

Joan Swan noted that it was odd that “none of the coffee shops have reflected” a recent fall in milk prices with an espresso costing €3 in her local coffee shop and a cappuccino costing €3.50.

Trish Walsh is visiting Ireland from overseas and said that people earning Irish salaries “can possibly justify [spending such amounts]. Those of us coming in from abroad to see family — if not it just wouldn’t be worth it — will be enjoying picnics again this year.”

Joe Harvey pointed to a local pub “charging €4.25 for a small jug of diluted blackcurrant” and said it “really is appalling”.

He’s not wrong there.

“Costs have gone up everywhere, for the producer, the supplier the bars restaurants, the cafes selling the goods,” suggested Rob Cullen. “Yes these prices are sky high but it is up to us as consumers to say yes or no. If we keep buying nothing will change, not even posts of high receipts on [Twitter].”

Louise Troy was happy enough. “I got a pot of tea and a large coffee fancy in Athy yesterday for €5! Absolute bargain!”

Then there was Eoin who was able to buy a croissant in a French bakery for [a] euro [and] who posted a picture of a croissant selling in a high-end Irish cafe for €4.50.

Thomsas Kehoe had what he described as a Road to Damascus moment in a Dublin deli recently after they “tried to charge me €5.90 for two slices of brown bread, a smear of butter, a slice of ham and a slice of cheese. The most miserable looking slice of ham ever.” He “refused to take it and part with my money. Rip-off.”

Daniel Broe noted that coffee shops are charging 75 cent for a shot of caramel. He said a bottle of caramel costs €4.50 for them [and] they get 100-150 shots out of a bottle.”

We had to do that maths on that. If a bottle of caramel has 125 shots and a coffee shop charges 75 cent, each bottle brings in €93.75 for a cost of €4.50. That is a markup of just under 2,000 per cent.

We’d better leave it there before your head explodes.