Birthday celebrations were twice as sweet and celebrated thrice as hard on Saturday night as groups of gals and pals enjoyed the first night of frivolity unrestrained by Covid restrictions.
Birthday girl, Molly O’Brien, was out in Dwyers of Cork on Washington Street with her friends, Anna Healy and Laura Harding, all from Carrigaline.
The ladies said they had arranged to come out for an early celebration of Molly’s birthday which is next week, but said the lifting of restrictions was a big plus.
Molly said she had planned to go home at 8pm, but it might be a bit later now.
“Everyone is so happy and everything is easy going, fewer formalities, it's more relaxed.” “I got emotional watching the speech last night, it's just a bit of freedom and normality. Everyone is delighted to be out.” Laura said she felt less of a burden in meeting up with her friends.
“We used to feel we were doing something wrong and it's a bit more chill now.”
Another birthday girl who got an extra special birthday celebration after two years of restrictions was Marie Coleman from Ballinhassig.
“It’s my birthday today, I had this booked for 2.30pm, thinking we would have to be home early, so it was a pleasant surprise that the restrictions have been lifted. It's worked out perfectly.
Marie said it was a relief, knowing there was no time limit on the evening.
Marie said she hadn’t expected the restrictions to be lifted so dramatically.
“It's been a tough two years, it's a little bit daunting, I didn’t expect to go from 0 - 100, not going to lie. But still, I’m happy. It’s been a long time coming, we have to just live with it now, I’m happy to be opening up again.”
The manager of Dwyers, Ryan Carroll has been working in the busy gastropub since it opened three and a half years ago.
Ryan said there was a great buzz in the bar this evening.
“There is a really good buzz, there’s a bit of relief there and a bit more life to people.
“The staff are delighted. We need about 10 more people at the moment, no one expected it to happen as fast as it did, but we just have to deal with it and get on with it, it's great.” Ryan said it was time to get back to doing what they are supposed to be doing.
“The last two years is not what we are about the pub scene is a bit of craic and the last two years were very labour intensive, and it's not the same sitting at a table in the corner when you want to mingle and talk to people, so it's great.”
Emma McCormack from Carrigaline, Ciara O’Callaghan and Sarah Reardon from Cobh were out to ring in another year for Gillian Horgan from Silversprings.
“It’s Gillian’s birthday celebrations,” Sarah said, “We booked it early, even if we don’t stay out late, but knowing we can, makes a difference. We’re celebrating being able to stay out late.
“We were only 20 when the pandemic hit, so we are finally able to get in places. We feel we have missed out on experiences, every holiday I had booked was cancelled, our graduation was cancelled” Emma said she was in her final year when the pandemic started and she missed out on a lot of nights out, “We all have habits now, that we will probably carry for years,” Ciara said, “We’re scarred!”
Another group of ladies out and about, from Douglas and Carrigaline, were Kayleigh Dennehy, Emma Gorman, Jennifer O’Regan and Roisin O’Donnell
“I was prepared to be in bed for 6pm and when I heard the news, I was delighted!” Roisin said.
Kayleigh said it was nice to be out in a pub instead of drinking at home.
Valerie Conlon, Elaine O’Regan and Mary Hourihan, from Ballygarvan, said they found it a little strange not having to wear a face mask all the time.
“I’m delighted to be out, had this booked a while, but I found it strange not having to wear masks. I dunno if I feel we should still be wearing masks, it could be too much too soon,” Valerie said.
Elaine said she has been waiting for this for way too long.
“They were a bit too conservative before Christmas. I’m sick of it, two years of it, it was a bit depressing.”
Mary said she appreciated the chance to be out and get on with their lives.