Residents bar opens in Belfast nursing home

Residents of a Belfast nursing home say they are relishing the opportunity for a drink and conversation after opening a pub there to give them a lift after closing.

Our Lady’s, an 86-bed home off Falls Road, took two months to set up the Giant’s Foot Pub.

Residents can sip alcoholic or soft drinks, play darts, poker and roulette, listen to music and even watch custom horse races.

Thomas Stewart, 85, and his wife Eileen were spending the afternoon enjoying a drink together.

«We’ve been married for 62 years and this is our first date in 18 years and I’m worried she’s drinking too much wine,» he said with a laugh.

Not to worry, Eileen reassures us that her chosen one was a non-alcoholic.

Residents have always been able to have a drink in their rooms where convenient, and now they have a place to gather to enjoy and enjoy each other’s company.

“This is the best thing that ever happened to this place,” said resident Roisin Spence, a lifelong pioneer who had a soft drink.

«It’s a great outlet for people because before he was here we had nowhere to meet. This will freshen things up a bit.»

The home manager said 19 months have been tough for Covid, as in many other care facilities, and now they want to «bring back the joy».

«They haven’t been out much, they haven’t seen their families much, and it all has an effect on the residents,» Isabel Neves said.

«We’re trying to improve that and make their lives a little bit more joyful and it makes you speechless when you get here and see them all so happy.»

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Since the drink is not sold, the bar did not need a license.

Alcohol is kept under lock and key and supplied under strict supervision and according to medical advice.

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