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04th Jan 2016

Your Say: Should Children Be In Restaurants After 9pm?

Sharyn Hayden

Ass Monkey and I got one night out together over Christmas. Just the one. We booked the babysitter, we got dressed up, we excited about the thrill of spending time in the great, big, adult world outside our doors for a few hours together and we went for it.

The venue was a local restaurant and bar and the occasion was our lovely friend’s birthday.

‘I’m going to drink ALL the cocktails!’ I declared in the taxi on the way over.

‘And I’m going to drink ALL the beer!’ Ass Monkey agreed.

We held hands in the back and could hardly wait to get to our destination. I could almost taste the wings and fries, my throat was dry for a strawberry daiquiri and adult time was the order of the night.


Our pals were already at the table ahead of us and as we sat, I excitedly took stock of our surroundings; the gorgeous Christmas decorations, the view of the harbour at night, the twinkling fairy lights reflected in the dark window, the waitress as she approached to take our order for drinks (*sighs*) and, wait..

..what is that?

..right there, at the table next to us? that, a family there, sitting there with KIDS??

It was just after 8pm and the kids weren’t really ‘baby’ kids, they may have been nine or ten. I figured they’d probably have just eaten and would be heading home shortly.

By 10 pm they were still there, and as our drinks flowed and we finished our meal, our little gang naturally got a bit more boisterous.

I was conscious of the kids next to us and so took a sneaky glance over when I realised that the adults at the table were giving us the filthies!


It wasn’t a sophisticated restaurant, it was a bar with a restaurant in it, and it was 10 pm. As much as I felt for the kids having to listen to us shiteing on, I did sort of feel that our evening was being hindered by virtue of the fact that we felt as though we should reign it in.

The family literally didn’t leave until right before we did, somewhere around 10.30pm, and to be honest, I’m sure they felt as though they couldn’t relax with their kids as much as we felt that we couldn’t either.

I know that families eat together late in other European countries as a matter of course, but what about here in Ireland?

Should we become more agreeable to sharing our space with kids in bars and restaurants no matter what time it is or is the legal cut-off point of 9pm in place for good reason?

Here are some of your thoughts on the subject:

“Depends where, what the occasion is and whether the place family friendly. When you arespending a lot of money you want a positive pleasant dining experience” – Karen, Lucan

“Depends on the restaurant.. you don’t go to a child-friendly restaurant expecting a romantic meal for two. Parents are just as entitled to a night out as those of us with no kids, but personally, since going to a restaurant is a treat I would like it to be a child free atmosphere” – Sharon, Dundalk


“For me kids shouldn’t be in a licensed venue after 9 pm. As for those parents giving you filthies, they have no right to behave that way. They don’t get any special rights just because they feed their kids too late” – Niamh, Co. Meath

“The parents (and their kids) can f*ck off. It’s after nine in the evening. You don’t turn up and eat dinner in a playground.” – Johnny, Dublin

“We were out the other night in a lovely restaurant, our first night out as a couple in about six months and there was someone there with a young child who just kept yelling out, whinging and crying. I felt sorry for the baby, it was obviously tired and wanted to be at home in bed but I was annoyed too, our meal was a treat and wasn’t cheap and cheerful. We have always agreed on what to do. If we don’t have a babysitter then one of us stayed home. We took turns. Of course it’s different during the day but after 7.30-8 I just don’t agree.” – Janet, The Naul

“Personally I don’t care if I’m out on a kid-free date night and other kids are in the restaurant crying. In fact, it just makes me appreciate my child-free night all the more. Parents need to be more accepting and tolerant of each other and our kids” – Liz, Co. Dublin


“It depends on if they’re my kids or not. Haha! After 9 I think it’s too late for kids. On the other hand if the kids are old enough to sit through a meal without going mental I wouldn’t have an issue with other people bringing theirs” – Fiona, Co. Meath

“As someone without kids I actually don’t really mind it during the day or evening at all but after 9 pm is a bit of a different story. It does depend on the restaurant.. I probably wouldn’t take a very young kid into a late night restaurant full of adults as the majority of them would likely be drinking but I wouldn’t mind sitting in an Italian restaurant or something similar at 7.30/8 pm at night” – Cate, Swords, Co. Dublin

“I don’t care as long as they are not running around like lunatics and parents ignoring them. Which I’ve seen happen loads” – Brendan, North County Dublin


“If you can teach your child how to behave socially in restaurants from an early age then there shouldn’t be any problem with them being there for the other diners”  – Susan, Dublin

Do you think that all children need to be ‘off the premises’ by a certain time? Let us know in your comments!