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Irish natives train in hospitality industry at Charlotte pub

Trainees in the international program learn skills on how to run a bar with the goal of taking it back to Ireland.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Workers in the hospitality industry from Ireland are training at Charlotte's Rí Rá Irish Pub, from pouring pints to bussing tables, in hopes of learning how to run a successful restaurant and bar.

Four Irish natives are currently in the program in Charlotte on a 12-month visa.

"It's a training program when you come out to America for the year and work in an Irish bar, basically learn from the creme de la creme of hospitality across the world," said Ciaran Donnelly, a trainee.

They learn the front-of-house and back-of-the-house skills. That runs the gamut of interacting with guests, getting the order right, and serving it in a timely manner. 

They also learn the basic functions of being a manager like scheduling and dealing with the finances, all so customers have a positive guest experience.

"There's people coming in here who are actually going to Ireland, and we've been able to give them an itinerary of where to go and what to do," said Donnelly.

The experience is also proving to be a positive one for the trainees settling into the Charlotte way of life for a while longer.

"It's very homey. Everyone here is so friendly. It's kind of almost similar to Irish people in a way," Ciara, another trainee, said. "Even if you're walking down the street, people say hello to you and see. I love that part about it."

Since the group is involved with St. Paddy's Fest, one worker shared how Charlotte stacks up with Ireland as far as celebrations.

"Americans do know how to party, I'll give them it," said Conor Compston. "But back home Paddy's, they are just up drinking 9 am, crack the first beer, drink all day and all night."

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