Close Menu

Ireland charts third for pub density

Research conducted by Ireland’s Health Research Board (HRB) has revealed Ireland ranks third for the highest number of pubs per capita in the world.

Although the amount of pubs in Ireland have decreased in the past 10 years, off-licence numbers have grown

HRB’s latest alcohol overview showed three-in-four people live within walking distance of a premise licensed to sell alcohol.

The findings come despite the number of licensed pubs in Ireland declining over the last 10 years. From 2022 to 2023, 7,856 pub licences were issued or renewed, which was an 8.2% dip since 2012-2013.

Rural counties were found to have the highest rate of pub licences per capita with one pub for every 330 people in Kerry, and one pub for every 359 people in Mayo. In Dublin, meanwhile, there is one pub licence per 1,519 people.

Only Slovakia and Hungary have more pubs per capita, ranking first and second respectively, and if you bring bars, nightclubs and beer gardens into the equation, Ireland drops to fourth behind Spain.

Although pub numbers may have dropped off, off-licence premises grew by 7.7% over the 10 years from 2012/13 to 2022/23. The findings revealed that 73% of Ireland’s population live within 300 metres of a liquor licence.

Anne Doyle, HRB research officer and lead author of the review, said: “This is the first time that we have looked at accessibility to alcohol in detail. Using geospatial analysis, we also found there is a greater density of licensed premises in deprived communities.

“This is significant because evidence shows that people in deprived areas are more likely to experience alcohol-related harms, despite consumption being lower or equal to affluent areas.”

Other findings from the review revealed that nearly one in three people aged 15 years and over do not drink at all – the number of abstainers increased from 25% in 2018 to 30% in 2022.

Alcohol consumption per person above the age of 15 was also down in 2023 (9.9 litres of pure alcohol on average per person over the year); this was also down compared with pandemic levels in 2019 (10.8 litres).

The 9.9 litre figure equates to 37 bottles of vodka or 104 bottles of wine or 400 pints of beer, per person.

Last year, Ireland passed a ban on advertising alcohol on TV before 9pm. The ban will come into effect from 10 January 2025.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No