An iconic Laois pub has been taken over and renamed with plans to add a nighttime restaurant to its services, once Covid-19 is history.
The Mellick Inn on the main street in Mountmellick has been renamed as the Clock Inn, and its new managers, Aidan and Sylvia Deasy, have ambitious plans to restore it as a bustling hive of social life in the town.
The revamped business, a prominent building on the main street will initially employ 12 to 14 people with hopes of more to come.
Businessman Aidan Deasy, a Mullingar native living in Portlaoise, told the Leinster Express of their plans.
"We will be opening the B&B again to private guests, we will be opening a restaurant that will be open all day from breakfasts to dinnertime. We will also be reopening the function room. We have changed the name because this is a fresh new business," he said.
Aidan whose background is in the cinema industry, said they have already done a renovation of the building, which they have leased for the next five years.
"We have basically installed a new kitchen. Sylvia is a chef and so will have a strong input on the menu. We will have two seating areas in the restaurant and in the next few weeks we will start with a takeaway meals," he said.
Opening a pub at this time he admits is a challenge.
"It is a tough time but if you don't take risks you never get anywhere. I have experience working in my family's pub and this is something we always had an interest in. We will be running a very professional outfit for good clientele," he said.
The Clock Inn is already getting a positive response from Mountmellick people.
"It's been amazing the past few days, everything has been very positive. Everyone is looking forward to the new business and an opportunity to try a new restaurant," he said.
The bed and breakfast of the pub had previously been used as emergency accommodation for homeless people by Laois County Council, but Mr Deasy says this will no longer be the case.