Bewley's on Grafton Street yesterday announced that it will close permanently due to the impact of Covid-19.
Owned by artist Paddy Campbell, staff of the historic café were told the bad news in a note that reads:
“Taking into consideration all of the information currently available to us, there is a real likelihood that the cafe will generate substantial and unsustainable losses into the future, and we need to take urgent steps to address that situation.
It is with profound regret that... in this situation it is likely to be necessary to permanently close the cafe in the coming weeks.”
Many were shocked to learn the news, dubbing Bewley's a "household name" and "so much more than a cafe to the city's history" as they recall fond memories of afternoons spent there.
To lose Bewley’s would be like Paris losing Café de Flora. You mightn’t have that old celebrity haunt vibe (spotting de Beauvoir and Sarte or whatnot), but we could gaze on Harry Clarke and Jim Fitzpatrick’s stained glass windows. The place is part of Dublin’s mythology.
— Chris McCormack (@ChrisMacCormack) May 6, 2020
My Grandma and my Mam used to take me to #Bewleys every time we stopped into Dublin in the early 90s (when I summer-lived in Annagassan). That wondrous smell of fresh ground coffee. The reopening of the James Joyce Room, the tour of @BewleysIreland and the Harry Clarke windows.
— Nirina Plunkett (@NirinaXX) May 7, 2020
There have also been several calls to save the building's famous stained glass windows ahead of the closure. Widely considered to be Ireland's greatest stained glass artist, Harry Clarke designed a number of decorative windows for the new premises of the Bewley's Oriental Café on Grafton Street back in 1927, along with Jim Fitzpatrick whose Celtic-motif artwork also appears in the café.
I don't know but those windows need to be protected. I wish the decision to close Bewleys could be reversed as much for the staff as the building.
— Jean Manahan🇮🇪 (@JeanM963) May 7, 2020
— Isolo-Sarah (@sarahgriffalo) May 7, 2020
— Ca Del (@fdcsticks) May 7, 2020
Two months ago, in taking a photograph taken in #Bewleys, the background just happened to be one small part of one of Harry Clarke’s beautiful windows.
The staff matter most, but these national treasures must not be lost to us. pic.twitter.com/bGryhuOqBa
— Cathal 🖐WASH HANDS 😷 Mac Coille (@CMacCoille) May 7, 2020
Depicting images of colourful flowers, marine creatures, exotic birds, butterflies and lush foliage, the windows have come to be known as one of Dublin's most beautiful attractions - it remains to be seen what will happen to the windows.
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