A NUMBER of Cork airport passengers approached flying with a nervous trepidation this week as Ireland enters its third day without non-essential travel restrictions.
While many were excited about their holiday they also admitted to being anxious about travelling after so long in lockdown.
Breda Daly from Togher was among those who found the build-up difficult. She was preparing to travel to Malaga with her husband Victor.
“To be honest I was hoping up to the last minute that it might be cancelled,” she admitted.
“It’s been panic all week. Victor got his Digital Covid Certificate but mine didn’t come on time so I had to get a PCR test. Getting ready for a holiday is a completely different experience now. You have to make sure everything is just right. The other side wasn’t my worry. We are both doubly vaccinated. It’s just the preparation that has been difficult.”
Nonetheless, Breda said she was relieved to be resuming some semblance of normality.
Victor shared her sentiment.
“All we can do is keep our guard up and do the best we can,” he said. “We are just happy to get away from the bad news we are reading about and hearing on the radio every day.”
April McGrath from Rochestown was travelling to Malaga from Cork Airport yesterday.
She said that travel restrictions are still affecting her in other ways as she is unable to visit her family in Dubai.
“Now, Dubai is on the red list I won’t get to see them for a while, but I’m still looking forward to having this break.”
Dylan Church, who was travelling with April, said they were hesitant to tell people about the holiday, and felt some people would have their own beliefs about travel but he said “everyone we’ve told has been really happy for us.”
Eireann O’Loughlin from Douglas, who is studying drama and theatre in Brighton, described the difference between travelling now and during the height of the pandemic.
“When you come back from Ireland to the UK you don’t have to quarantine but I always kept the fact that I had travelled a secret,” she said.
“Travelling today has been different though. You don’t have that person outside the door asking you why you are travelling. When I go back to the UK I’ll be vaccinated but I still have so many worries. They are going to be getting rid of masks over there and that’s a huge worry for me.”
Meanwhile, primary school teachers Aoife Twohill from Newtownshandrum and Emma Holohan from Laois were en route to Marbella.
“There’s is a lot more to think about now, so much so that it’s hard to get your head around,” Aoife said.
“You have to make sure you’re packing enough masks and even though I’m fully vaccinated I still had to get an antigen test because I still have no EU Digital Covid Cert.”
Her friend Emma added: “I don’t know what normal is going to look like over there. We’re not going to be able to relax until we are on the plane and have all the boxes ticked.”
Head of Communications at Cork Airport, Kevin Cullinane, said that Monday was a much anticipated day at Cork Airport as Ireland fully re-opened for international travel.
“Our Operational Readiness Team, encompassing every department, had been planning extensively for this day so that all our customers have as safe and as pleasant an experience when travelling through the airport.”
Describing the atmosphere at Cork Airport he added: “There is a great buzz and air of excited anticipation at Cork Airport this week. We have missed our passengers; our airlines have missed them, and our business partners have missed them.
“Hopefully, we are witnessing the start of Ireland’s re-connection with the world and we will play our part by building back our route network out of Cork Airport.”