Cork shops reopened without drama following the lifting of restrictions this morning, with the streets initially quiet but starting to fill out as the hours passed.
After six weeks of Level Five Covid restrictions, the shutters were up and the doors were opened.
One early bird was Alison Daniels from Holyhill who was waiting outside Penneys for it to open at 7am.
‘I was just getting a few presents and pyjamas, I think it was more excitement, just to get out and get in early.” Alison said the store was looking fabulous and there was plenty of space to shop.
Queuing outside Brown Thomas was Chloe Bowen from Killeens. Chloe, who works in the city, came in early to return things to Brown Thomas.
“I got stuff online, so I’m returning a few things and changing some sizes. I did a lot of online shopping during the lockdown and I feel like you are better off going into the shop and trying things on rather than the online, its a bit of hassle.” Chloe said she was looking forward to the shops opening for Christmas.
“There is such an atmosphere. It’s nice for the shops to be open. I think its good for everyone at this time of year for the shops to be open. It's nice to get back to normality.
Another Penneys fan, Niofh Hourihane, who lives on Shandon Street said she was looking to pick up some essentials such as pyjamas.
“I was going to go local, but I saw there was practically no queue for Penneys so I went here instead to get the few cheap things. I’m going to go to Prime Time after, been dying to get in there for months, then I’m going to go home before I am absolutely broke. Looking forward to looking around, it's been a long time.”
Roberta Huggins, living on the Northside of Cork city, said she was getting her Christmas shopping done this morning and was surprised to see it wasn’t busier.
“I came in earlier, I thought it would be way busier than it was, I thought there was a fierce rush on. I think people might have stayed away because they thought there was going to be a rush.” Roberta was in Brown Thomas early and picked up a few things for her nearest and dearest.
“We saved up the past few months because we weren’t really going anywhere so I was able to splash out a bit earlier. Today is the day to do the list, and pick up the bits.” Frank Thorton, from Kanturk, was waiting patiently outside GameStop to pick up a Playstation game for his son.
“We dropped the kids to school and straight up to do the big shop. We want to put it away and have it finished with before we presume things will get busy later in the day. Get it out of the way.”
Another early riser was Julia Conacova, living in Cork County, who was in town since 8am and had got everything done by 10am.
“I’m just browsing now. I’m going into Homesense looking to buy some Christmas decorations.” There was a substantial queue outside the Irish Cancer Society charity shop including Shaunna Lee Lynch who was looking to pick up some comic books in the window display.
“They have rare comic books in the window display. This shop is always popular, the second-hand stuff can be really cool.”
Shaunna said she was going to wait and see how busy town got before deciding to do some Christmas shopping.
“I might leave it for another day. I did a lot of my shopping online, but I still have lots to get still.
Ursula Fitzgerald from Ballintemple queueing for Sostrene Grene, looking to pick up a few bits for the home.
“I have not done too much Christmas shopping yet, there is plenty of time for it, I’m just enjoying town being open. It’s great there is a bit of atmosphere and the weather is fine.
“You have to be careful and take responsibility, the shops are being great, I couldn’t tell you how many times I have washed my hands already today.
Firm friends Catherine Philpott and Claire Frampton were also in town, picking up a few bits.
“We’re just enjoying the fact town is open and catching up. We haven’t seen each other in ages, so we are delighted.”