If you saw a group of men sitting round a table in a pub, having a beer, what would you think?
“That group of men is clearly on a stag do,” that’s what you would think. You would, at least 90% of the time, be right in thinking this, because what better way is there to honour the most important day of a mate’s life than dressing up in silly outfits and drinking several pints of semi-warm lager.
One such group – a group of seven men wearing priests’ clothing – were spotted, pints in had, at The City Arms in Cardiff on Saturday. The manager – who’d had problems with large groups in fancy dress before – went over and asked them to leave. None of that sort in my pub, thank you very much.
The only problem? The men weren’t in fancy dress, they were actual priests, and they had gone to the pub to celebrate the ordination of father Peter McClaren earlier that day.
The priests told WalesOnline: “On arrival, the bartender informed them that it was policy not to grant entry to fancy dress parties or stag ‘dos’. Upon hearing this, our initial impression was that this was a joke until it became clear that this was not the case and he was in fact serious.
“After insisting to no avail that they were in fact students for the priesthood, two of them having recently been ordained deacons, we turned to leave.”
However, the story has a happy ending – the priests got their pints, and free ones at that. As they were walking out the door, probably more than a little miffed, the manager and said, sheepishly: “You’re real, aren’t you?”
Father Michael Doyle, who knows the group, told the BBC: "He invited them back in and when they walked back in the entire pub burst into a round of applause, and they had a free round off The City Arms."
City Arms assistant manager said that the priests were "all great sports and saw the funny side of the situation,” and hung around for a few hours chatting to other guests, who obviously found it strange to see a group of clergy down the pub.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cardiff echoed his sentiment: "We'd like to thank The City Arms for being good sports through all of this and their kind gesture to our seminarians,” he said.
This has given me an idea, to be honest. Get your mates together, buy some priests’ outfits, go down the pub and wait to get kicked out. Convince the pub you’re real priests, get let back in, and bam, a free round on the house. Genius.
(Images: The City Arms / Twitter)