The Lawlor family from Swords, who have run The Old School House pub, one of the most iconic pubs in Swords, are in the process of completing a major new pub beside the old one, that promises to have a big impact on the hospitality business in the town.
Family member, Jason Lawlor (31), who comes from River Valley in Swords, is working with his father Desmond and his brother Keith on the new building. They purchased the Old School House last November and Jason spoke to the County Leader about his plans for the new pub.
“We were involved with the pub for the past 11 years and we are putting on a very large extension, separate to the existing pub, comprised of a two storey building with a rooftop beer garden and a working brewery. We have the capacity to build this micro brewery that are becoming increasingly more popular across the country,” he said.
“In the Old School House, we already brew our own beer in the cellar, a pale ale, and an amber ale. We only have the capacity to brew two kegs per day at present and we currently sell about two to three kegs per week in the pub. We just want to progress this part of the business to a bigger scale, especially with Swords being so close to the airport, with the increased tourists that brings, we need to be able to cater for their needs,” said Jason.
The new building, which is expected to be completed by mid September, will be a late bar and will have limited opening hours, mainly at weekends. The capacity will increase from the present 400 to 500 people, with the new pub adding a further 750, making a grand total of 1,250. The area to the side of the existing building, along the river bank will serve as a car park for approximately 20 cars.
The Irish music scene is vibrant at the moment. The success of Kodaline brought a great buzz to Swords and we want to encourage the growth of live bands in Swords and to hopefully book established Irish bands like Walking on Cars and Picture This if possible. The lads from The Chandelier Sessions have been at the forefront in encouraging new music in Swords and we are linking up with them for these gigs, with the aim of creating a buzzing music venue, with the capacity of around 350 in North County Dublin,” he said.
Paddy Duffy, the family’s business consultant welcomed the plans of the Lawlor family and said, “The biggest challenge and opportunity now facing the town of Swords is to coherently develop Main Street Swords and integrate it fully with the Pavilions and extend that developmental integration to JC’s on the Rathbeale Road, to all of North Street, and right up to Airside Retail Park.”
“The exciting plans proposed by Fingal CEO, Paul Reid for the new Cultural Quarter and the accelerated redevelopment of Swords Castle as a major Tourism hub, the commercial opportunities presented by the 30 million passengers through Dublin Airport this year, and the long overdue commencement of Metro North, clearly demonstrate the prospect of brilliant commercial, tourism and social success in Swords, if those opportunities are grasped,” he said.