Discarded carpets piled outside shops and queues of people waiting to enter IT and electrical stores were the scenes in Cork city on Tuesday, following heavy flooding and ahead of the looming lockdown.
Wind and rain raged all morning as shoppers scurried about their business, with a number of extra-large ‘Smyths’ bags suggesting Christmas shopping was well underway. Men carrying smaller Brown Thomas bags also hinted at well organised festive shoppers potentially fearing the worst for the festive season ahead.
Between the ongoing pandemic, the floods and bad weather, it was a day that highlighted the strange, stressful times we are currently living in.
Princes Street, normally a hive of activity with casual shoppers enjoying a bite to eat or a hot drop, was empty, apart from a few business owners standing in doorways forlorn and socially distanced, discussing the damage caused by the surge of flood water at high tide this morning.
Along Oliver Plunkett Street several shops and cafes had bags and bags of rubbish to be discarded, and every now and again someone would pop out front with a mop bucket to pour away filthy water and start cleaning with fresh water again.
As well as this, Cork city council trucks and employees made their way up the street, collecting the items for waste from the front of the shops and the street cleaner cart made its way slowly onto Grand Parade.
It was a different buzz of activity then you would normally find on a Tuesday morning, but slowly the many hands were returning the street to some semblance of normality, even though it is likely to take many weeks to return the stores to their former glory.
On Opera Lane the computer store was by far the busiest outlet, with a long queue of people getting set up and ready to once again work from home on a full-time basis.
Along Winthrop Street, sandbags stayed put outside a number of closed doors and a number of homeless people sat on the ground outside McDonalds asking passers by for change.
Amid the busy shopkeepers, employees and business owners, were a few local politicians, making their way down the street, asking questions and offering their sympathy for the damage caused.
Cork and its people have shown their resilience many times but there is no doubt considerable support will be needed to help the city, its citizens and its traders survive this most testing of years.