Hibernian owner vows to rebuild

What's left of the Hibernian Pub in Raleigh after a fire Wednesday morning (Jon Camp)

December 27, 2012 1:40:51 PM PST
Cleanup crews were hard at work Thursday on Raleigh's Glenwood Avenue after a fire the day before destroyed city's well-known Hibernian Pub.

The extent of the damage is still a shock to pub owner Niall Hanley.

"I think it really hit me when I came down here, I live in Cameron Village, so when I arrived I just saw this plume of smoke in the sky," he told ABC11 Thursday.

Investigators blamed the blaze on a grease fire that started in the kitchen around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. There was no sprinkler system in the building.

No one was hurt.

A Facebook page has been set up to support the business that has vowed to rebuild.

"Like steel from fire, The Hibernian will rise again.. Meanwhile, don't forget you can still go to the Cary location to get your Hibernian on!" read one post.

Hanley said it's true, and he's got big plans.

"Hibernian 2.2. - bigger and better," he offered. "How do you do a three-story pub with a rooftop? I don't know, the city might not let me but we'll definitely try."

All joking aside, Hanley said he's committed to bringing this business back for the sake of his customers.

"You know we built this 13 years ago and to me, and the reaction we're getting from people, it's not just a pub, you can build a beautiful box and decorate it, but fill you fill it with memories and people," he said.

As for all the employees out of work because of the blaze, Hanley is trying to schedule them at some of his other properties.

"What we're trying to do is reposition them into the other restaurants that we have, we've kind of created a Hibernian refuge on the ground floor of Solas so the bartenders from Hibernian and the waitresses etc. etc. will be bartending down there every day till we get something going," said Hanley.

And for those who need their little fix of Ireland, there's still the second Hibernian Pub location at 1144 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary.

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