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‘People need an outlet and they have it back’ – revellers return to late-night spots after 590-day hiatus

Night owls and dancefloor sensations have their groove back after 590 days in the wilderness as nightclubs and late bars flung open their doors tonight.

he streets of Dublin were humming with the buzz of distant music and near chatter as the public were once again permitted to enter nightclubs and late bars.

The pandemic brought a welcome slowdown for some but the return to the party atmosphere was as all too delayed for many.

“People need an outlet and some people didn’t have that for close to two years. Now they have that back and it’s brilliant,” Keeva Laird Phelan said in Tramline nightclub.

“The buzz is strong. People need to let loose, and that feeling is an underestimated thing – people really need to let off steam and personally, this is the first time in a while that I have been able to let off that steam.”

“That’s why the clubs are here; you come in for a few hours, you have a few drinks and you let your hair down. People need to enjoy themselves and if you don’t let them do that then it’s just bad for everybody,” Keeva said.

Maria Mulvey said that after so long locked in, “I’m so happy to be out and about again and that everything is open for the first time in nearly two years.”

Maria highlighted that not everyone enjoys the placid environs of bars and that for a lot of young people, “it’s going to be a different night compared to the two years before”.

“It’s a bit depressing when you can’t go on a night out and all my friends are coming here tonight. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time”.

The south inner city teemed with groups of people heading to late bars and while crowds seemed somewhat above average, it didn’t feel out of control.

Independent.ie visited numerous pubs, cafés, nightclubs and restaurants in the south inner city on Friday evening and compliance with public health regulations appeared to be very high.

All bar one establishment asked for the Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) upon entry and table service was the norm in most establishments.

The atmosphere of expectation was palpable in the City Centre as large crowds buzzed with excitement, but the majority of businesses made punters wait with bated breath as they painstakingly scanned each DCC with a phone.

One establishment did refuse entry to this reporter, with a representative stating they, “could not guarantee social distancing” in their business. This was the only possible infraction against guidelines that were still somewhat unclear on Friday evening.

Customers appeared all too happy to follow protocols but Dublin did feel slightly under the auspices of Covid-19, with the possibility that the worsening profile of the pandemic has somewhat dampened the appetite for nightclubs as Covid cases grew once again.

Compliance with Covid regulations appeared more stringent than it did last week, and whether that can be attributed to the Big Brother effect the first reopening night brought, or pure chance that establishments visited were more laissez-faire in attitude is unsure, but on ‘Freedom Lite Nite’, only the immune, or vaccinated, were granted access.

The atmosphere was jubilant in the premises that were visited. The night felt reclaimed with an ignorance to coronavirus that slapped of 2019. On Friday, the pervading feeling was the night belonged to the people again, and not the virus, which has shut late bars and nightclubs for 590 days.

People, for the first time in a long time, were permitted to dance in a nightclub. Nobody could have imagined in 2019 that dancing would be under threat and nobody in 2021 could imagine it would feel so freeing once again.

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