A popular Irish pub in Arlington, Virginia, will reopen its doors Thursday more than a year after tragedy struck, when a car crashed into the restaurant on Wilson Boulevard, injuring 15 people and setting off a devastating fire.
“First and foremost, we’re the most thankful that the people who were injured that night, they’re on the way to recovery,” said Dave Cahill, managing partner of Ireland’s Four Courts.
On Wednesday, the pub hosted the people injured in the crash and the police and firefighters who responded on Aug. 12, 2022, when a ride-share driver suffered a medical emergency and crashed into the building.
“I think it’s a fitting way to open the pub back up,” said Cahill.
On the pub’s small stage, Cahill honored Arlington County Police Chief Charles Penn and Arlington County Fire Chief David Povlitz.
“Without hesitation, arriving officers, firefighters and paramedics immediately ran into the restaurant to evacuate patrons and staff, assess injuries and provide emergency medical care,” said Penn. “Undoubtedly, their decisive actions that night saved lives.”
The pub has placed three plaques in the restaurant’s foyer paying tribute and listing the names of police, firefighters and customers who rushed to help the injured.
The pub has undergone an estimated $2.7 million renovation, including antique fireplaces and carved wood mirror frames above the main bar.
“It’s brighter. I love all the sunlight. This mural is so beautiful, so I feel it’s a little bit old, a little bit of new and that’s a nice mix,” said Allison Kasic of Falls Church, a regular at Ireland’s Four Courts, which was the site of her 2021 wedding ceremony.
The renovation included the removal of a couple of vertical beams in the main bar area, making the area more spacious. Wood paneling has been restored and there are new tables, cushioned chairs and bar stools.
“They brightened it up a bit. There’s a lot more light coming in here now and the natural ceiling right there with the tin roof reminds me of a lot of bars that you would get back home in Ireland,” said Kieran McGrath, currently residing in West Springfield.
Most of the 45 members of the restaurant staff from last year are back on the job.
“We’re very thankful for the local community and for all the fundraising because we’re able to retain 27 members of staff after almost 13 months closed,” said Cahill.
Community fundraisers kept the pub’s staff financially afloat for more than a year, while renovation work was underway.
“We’re thankful for the community, for all the support that we got. … It was a lot of dark days and we just got so much support here in the local community and from the Falls Church restaurants, and people just reached out constantly to give us encouragement and basically lift us up … when we were down and just give us the will to go on and open back up,” said Cahill.
Ireland’s Four Corners has been serving customers in the Courthouse neighborhood for 26 years.
“There’s people who’ve come in here with their mom and dad and have their first pint … and those same people are on their first date here, they might get engaged here,” said Cahill. “We’ve had a few weddings here. … There’s a lot of community and a lot of people that consider this a home away from home. So it’s a very special place.”
Loyal customers are relieved and excited to have their favorite pub back, and some are proud of the role the community played in saving the place.
“The rallying around, both the first responders, the fundraisers, the local bars that helped the staff — it really is a great example of humanity and how we treat each other when others need each other,” said Laura Delhomme of Falls Church.
There’ll be live music as the pub reopens early evening Thursday, and it will be open through the weekend.
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