Limerick pubs allowed to open on Good Friday for rugby match

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NOT since the Irish Republic was founded has a pint of stout been allowed to emerge from behind a pub bar on Good Friday.

However, a legal ruling now means that Limerick is the place to be on April 2, Christendom's most solemn day, for those wishing to witness a peculiar - and perhaps slightly unsteady - piece of Irish history being made.

Publicans in Limerick, the capital of Irish rugby, have been granted a special exemption and will be allowed to open on Good Friday for the first time since 1928. In a country racked by the Catholic Church's sex abuse cover-ups it is tempting to see the move as a blow struck for secularism.

The truth, however, is more prosaic: more than 26,000 rugby fans will descend on Thomond Park in Limerick to watch Munster play Leinster, and they will want somewhere to celebrate or to drown their sorrows....

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