« Home | A BIT OF “EIRE” IN MACEDONIA » | FORGOTTEN NECROPOLIS » | MICROSOFT ACADEMY OPENS IN SKOPJE UNIVERSITY » | MACEDONIA SEIZES HEROIN ON GREEK BORDER » | SKOPJE FORTRESS TO BE RESEARCHED » | GREECE TO BUILD NEW BORDER CROSSING TOWARDS MACEDO... » | MIRUSH PREMIERE IN OSLO » | MACEDONIAN LITERATURE PRESENTED IN SRI LANKA » | "FYROM", OFF THE UN AGENDA » | MACEDONIA TO RECEIVE 300 MILLION DOLLARS IN NEXT F... »

A BIT OF “EIRE” IN MACEDONIA, PART II


National.

This is the second part of the “Irish Pub” article we’ve posted yesterday!

....More seriously was the intimidation from a local security company that was angered when Murphy agreed to hire a different one. The former sent a gang of heavies down to smash up the place and then, late in the night, toss a petrol bomb in the window. Murphy wasn’t fazed. “I yelled down the street after the fellow who threw it: ‘so what! this is a normal day in Belfast for us, you know.”

Indeed, the racketeers were consternated by the nonchalant reaction of the Irishman. They could not have known much about Murphy’s prior military training (he comes from a military family and served in the armed forces since the age of 17). Later, it turned out, the security company boss came and informed the Irishman that his display of strength was akin to leaving a calling card. “He said he wanted us to hire his company,” recalls Murphy. “I said, ‘well why didn’t you just come and talk to us?’ It was like a foreign concept to them.”

Murphy is adamant that small foreign investors in conspicuous industries such as his cannot operate in Macedonia without local support. “Unless you are a huge international company that can count on support from the government and foreign embassies,” he says, “it’s just too risky. Without the protection from my girlfriend’s family, it would have been impossible.” As James Joyce once said of Ireland itself, Macedonia is a nation of begrudgers, where people are often more interested in damaging the personal or business success of their neighbors than in doing something constructive for themselves. This hard truth is only really apparent, Murphy believes, when you get below the surface level of society. “The local people are very nice and hospitable- until they feel like you could be a threat to them.”

Yet after making the first hard steps, he has expanded the necessary local support base from his new family through his hiring practice. The Harp employs 16 people, “which means that when you add in their families and close relations, it’s about 200 people who are being looked after.” And, unlike many employers in Macedonia, Murphy pays the health insurance for his staff. In the early days he had to get rid of a couple of young workers for petty theft and sluggish service, but those who hung in and proved themselves are happy with their work, and the tips.

In light of the more serious issues, distribution problems with beer suppliers have been just an annoyance, though an expensive one. The main problem is that for the large European breweries, such as the all-important Guinness, Macedonia is a tiny dot on the map and supply thus has to be re-routed from middlemen outside of the country. Murphy had to cajole a regional distributor who was dubious about supplying his little bar into working with him. However, having done so much business so fast, he proved that the bar would be a worthwhile distribution point.

One of the notable elements of The Harp is its extensive menu- making it a competitor on the Kumanovo restaurant scene as well as a bar. The soldier proudly points out that he instructed his cooks on how to prepare all the dishes in advance, and he is adamant about the freshness of the rations: in what is probably the only such example in the country, the menu contains a note informing customers that all of the meat served has been inspected by a government-certified vet.

But there is another element of Kumanovo’s new Irish pub that is perhaps even more important than the quality of its food and drink. The brutal truth is that, aside from some nightlife, this small, ethnically-mixed city is coarse and almost bereft of attractions. The Harp is important, therefore, in that it has added to the city’s sense of community and entertainment scene in a novel way. “We get the best people in Kumanovo here, the nicest people,” the owner attests. “People who are friendly and understand what we’re about.”

That said, the unusual success story of The Harp could even serve as an example for the country in the big picture. “Everyone is welcome in my bar, no matter where they’re from, no matter what their nationality,” says Murphy- “so long as they abide by the rules of the bar. That’s all we ask.”

MD: Interesting story! There are several Irish pubs in Macedonia, of course the first one in Skopje and there is one in Ohrid too! But this pub is the most original, because it is really Irish! Also an interesting fact is that Ireland has many similarities with Macedonia, in history and of course the music and dancing! There are many theories on that, some say that the Kelts picked up the Macedonian influences when crossing southern Europe and the Bosphorus and brought them back to Ireland. Also a song specially written for Macedonia can be found on the "Riverdance" Irish music album.

[Balkananalyses]

Bookmark and Share

I would encourage everyone who visits Kumanovo to make a special trip to The Harp, to sample the fantastic atmosphere, the delicious food and enjoy the entertainment. The owner and staff bend over backwards to make you feel welcome. Truly worth a visit and I wish Mark every success in his venture. Adrienne

Post a Comment

February 27 2010:
Auxentius

    Poll

    MD Shoutbox

     
     

    MD Partners
















      Explore Macedonia! Click to watch.


















































































































































      advanced web statistics

    Macedonia Daily is powered by Blogger.
    Macedonia Daily | www.macedoniadaily.org
    info@macedoniadaily.org
    © 2006-2010 All Rights Reserved.