WEST Cork foodies were shocked this week to hear of the closure of two more popular restaurants, Richy’s Restaurant in Clonakilty, and Arundels by the Pier in Ahakista.
These two announcements come on the back of the recent closure of Deasy’s restaurant in Ring, which closed its doors for the last time on New Year’s Eve.
Richy’s Restaurant in Clonakilty, run by popular chef Richy Virahsawmy, announced on Facebook on Tuesday that the restaurant was closing with immediate effect, much to the surprise of locals in the town.
‘It is with great sadness that we have to announce the closing of Richy’s Restaurant. We thank you all for your support over the years and feel very blessed to have had over 18 amazing years of working with some very special people,’ the post said.
‘We hope your experience with Richy’s was enjoyable and we will miss you dearly. All the best in the future.’
This is the second Clonakilty restaurant to close within weeks, following the closure of Deasy’s Restaurant in Ring.
Elaine Blackwell and chef Caitlin Ruth were behind the award-winning restaurant for the past 16 years and said they decided to close to enjoy a better work/life balance. Caitlin, however, plans to stay in the food business with her mobile food truck.
Meanwhile, the owners of the family-run Arundels by the Pier in Ahakista also announced this week that they are closing the popular bar/restaurant later this month.
On a Facebook post, Shane and Fiona Arundel said it is with the ‘heaviest of hearts’ that they have been forced into the decision to close the bar, but they plan to lease the business in the hope it will continue to be part of the community. ‘We have tried everything we could over the last two years to keep the business afloat. However, due to circumstances outside of our control, the business has continued to make significant financial losses.’
They said they have had an amazing eight-and-a-half years and paid tribute to all their customers and their staff.
‘To our staff past and present you are the backbone of Arundels and only for you we would have been closed much sooner!
‘Although it is the end of an era for us, we will be offering the business to lease and so hopefully the doors will open again in the future and will continue to be a mainstay of the community.’
The closing night will be Saturday January 18th where staff, both past and present, as well as locals and customers, will gather for ‘one last hurrah.’
Arundels – which was established in the 1890s by Henry Arundel and has been in the family since – picked up the Best Gastro Pub award at the Munster Final of the Irish Restaurant Awards in 2017.
It was also the location for several years for the annual sold-out quiz night hosted by BBC TV presenter and local resident Graham Norton, as part of the Ahakista August Festival.
Chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) Adrian Cummins warned of trouble coming down the tracks in the industry as far back as October. He said the decision by the Government to increase the VAT from 9% to 13.5% in the last Budget put the Irish restaurant industry ‘in jeopardy’.
‘It only adds to the ever-growing cost of doing business in Ireland, along with high rent and inflated insurance premiums,’ he said.