Pictures: Cork streets come to life as pubs and restaurants re-open

Pictures: Cork streets come to life as pubs and restaurants re-open

Brid O'Connor, Ellen Walsh, Ellen Barry and Katie Horgan, all College Road, are all smile while relaxing in the outdoor dining area at Dwyers Cork.

A “GREAT buzz and atmosphere” returned to Cork city today as many pubs and restaurants opened their doors for outdoor dining.

The streets of Cork city were bustling on Monday following the reopening of hospitality for outdoor dining under the latest easing of restrictions announced by the Government.

Cork Chair of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Mike Ryan, who owns Coqbull and the Cornstore restaurants, said that his teams were “delighted to be carrying food on plates again” after six months of closure.

He said that the last couple of weeks “were probably getting on the messy side of things with the younger groups gathering” and that it was “great to see a bit of normality” back in the city centre again.

“Everyone has put in a massive effort and everyone is very happy to be back and to be out and about,” he said.

Chairman of the Cork branch of the VFI and owner of the Castle Inn in Cork city centre, Michael O’Donovan said he received “positive” feedback from pub owners.

 Margaret O'Riordan cleaning the tables at Clancy's Bar and Restaurant for today's June Bank Holiday reopening of outdoor hospitality on Princes Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Margaret O'Riordan cleaning the tables at Clancy's Bar and Restaurant for today's June Bank Holiday reopening of outdoor hospitality on Princes Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“They were all happy. The city looks great with a lovely atmosphere. There was excitement and noise which has been missing in recent months.”

Operations Manager of Oak Fire Pizza, Sarah Loane, said that the results of 12 months of hard work amongst all businesses on Princes Street in preparing for outdoor dining were seen on Monday.

“People probably don’t know how much work went into putting the whole thing together and the amount that we worked together was amazing.

“We helped each other out and even with the furniture we tried to get ones that look good together and with the different colours the whole aesthetic of the street is beautiful and a lot of work and preparation has gone into that. We have seen the results of it today, the atmosphere was absolutely electric.

“It’s so European, people really got the feel for it because it was warm and humid. You could be anywhere on the continent,” she said.

 Brendan McCarthy, Douglas, in company with Liam Dowling from Laois and Ann-Marie O'Rourke from Tipperary, in the outdoor dining area at Dwyers Cork.
Brendan McCarthy, Douglas, in company with Liam Dowling from Laois and Ann-Marie O'Rourke from Tipperary, in the outdoor dining area at Dwyers Cork.

She said that after a day of learning, the staff are buzzing and looking forward to welcoming more customers.

Enjoying lunch at Clancy’s, Katie Kelly of Connaught Avenue said that it was “nice to see everything back open again and to be able to enjoy the bank holiday by being out”.

Oisín Fitzgerald and his group of friends were the first to dine at Clancy’s from 11am today, enjoying a round of drinks on the house with their meals.

Mr Fitzgerald said that they were looking forward to the rest of their day and that it was great to see the city “so full up already”, with his friend Joe Slattery saying that it was “about time to reopen everything”.

Enjoying a mimosa at Dwyer’s were Sarah Twomey, Orla Spillane, and Ciara Horgan who said they were thrilled to be out enjoying themselves again.

Ms Twomey said that she was “most excited about the eggs benedict” and that it was great to be out and have everything feel so normal again.

Helen O'Shea, Molly Forde and Aifric Walsh at the re opening of Reardens bar on Washington street Cork
Helen O'Shea, Molly Forde and Aifric Walsh at the re opening of Reardens bar on Washington street Cork

Ms Spillane said “it’s the getting together again after so long” and that she had missed seeing people.

She said that “everything is very well organised” and that it “felt very safe” to be dining outside.

Ellen Walsh of College Road said that she and her friend group were “absolutely delighted” to be back to a bit of normality.

She said that there was a good buzz about town, but it felt safe and that she and many of her friends who are healthcare workers are fully vaccinated which makes them “feel safer around the place”.

Ann-Marie O’Rourke from Tipperary who was visiting Cork for the night said that it was “so nice” to book into a hotel and to “not have to do the wash-up” after a meal.

Bar owners across the city and county all spoke about the “positive atmosphere” which prevailed on Bank Holiday Monday as they resumed outdoor service following the latest lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

“Everyone enjoyed themselves. Everybody was in good form. We are thrilled to be back,” said Chris Weldon, of Dwyers of Washington Street.

Mr Weldon, joint owner of Dwyers along with Rory Murphy said there was a “great buzz” around the city.

“People are delighted to be out and about again. We are delighted to have them back. People were so happy and thrilled to be back.

Abbie Murray and Leah Donohoe at the re opening of Reardens bar on Washington street Cork
Abbie Murray and Leah Donohoe at the re opening of Reardens bar on Washington street Cork

“There was a great buzz around the city. It is lovely to see people out and enjoying themselves. It is good to get back and do what we do best,” he said.

“We have been planning and getting ready for the reopening day over the last two months. We wanted to create a wow factor when people came back.

“Washington Street is buzzing with activity. There is a nice colour there. All the traders work together. It is turn and burn time for everyone now. Cork city is looking great. I have to applaud the City Council for pedestrianising the streets. They deserve great credit as they stood by us. They gave us the space and they let us use it. They understand what needs to be done to survive,” he added.

The owner of Clancy’s bar on Princes Street, Paul Montgomery said: “The reopening was a huge success story. The weather was nice and warm. There was a super atmosphere. People were happy to be out enjoying themselves once again. Princes Street and Marlboro Street were both buzzing. It was great to see. There was a lovely holiday atmosphere,” he said.

Mr Montgomery praised the “goodwill” and “support” from everyone. “This is a start back again. There is enormous goodwill out there. We are looking forward to a busy and safe summer. We will keep it going and it will only get better,” he said.

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