Dancing back in Dublin as Irish nightclubs reopen after 600 days shut

(Alliance News) - Dancing returned to Ireland on Friday night as people stepped on to Dublin ...

Alliance News 23 October, 2021 | 11:21AM
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(Alliance News) - Dancing returned to Ireland on Friday night as people stepped on to Dublin dancefloors for the first time in nearly 600 days.

The government announcement this week that nightclubs could reopen has been followed by a frenzy of excitement, as venues finalised plans and made last-minute preparations for the return of revellers.

Yet recent days have also been dominated by confusion over the regulations facing clubs, as well as questions over the logic of reopening as Covid-19 cases rises.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin had promised earlier this week "What traditionally happens in a nightclub will continue to happen in the nightclub."

Some of the first people through the door of the Tramline nightclub in Dublin city centre were certainly taking him at his word.

Alvin Pascal, from Beaumont in Dublin, was a regular visitor to nightclubs before the pandemic.

He told the PA news agency: "It's been two years so it's a bit of a different experience. I was a bit anxious coming out. But it's fun now, being in there."

He said he had missed socialising with people.

"It's a bit different than when you're sitting at home or sitting in pubs," he said.

Under the new guidelines, masks must be worn when not dancing, drinking or eating.

All nightclub events will also be ticketed from next week, the government confirmed on Friday night.

Some of those determined to make the most of the new-found freedom thought the rules did not necessarily add up.

Pascal said: "You can dance and not have a mask on. But you have to wear a mask in the toilet. What's the difference?

"We'll see how it goes."

Asked if he planned to go out next weekend, he said: "100%. It's been two years, I'm obviously going to go out."

Queues began to form at some venues in Dublin early in the evening and continued throughout the night.

By 11.30pm, many venues were still dealing with long queues as young and old desperate to dance flocked back to some of the city's most popular hotspots.

Lakshay Seth, who lives in Dublin, said he was "really excited" to visit a nightclub.

He went out nearly every second weekend before the pandemic.

He said he missed dancing during the long closure of venues.

"Just dancing. I'm a big Abba fan, so just dancing," he said.

He said he was not nervous and planned to follow the rules.

"I travel on public transport, so if I get Covid I might get it there or I might get it here. But if there's any guidelines we have to follow, we're up for it."

One of the longest queues could be seen outside the Copper Face Jacks nightclub on Dublin's Harcourt Street.

Many people reported waiting for significant periods of time to enter the ever-popular venue.

One of those queueing, Meabh, told PA that she was nervous about the return of clubbing.

She said she was "more nervous than I've ever been about going out".

"But you remember you've done this a hundred times before, ages ago."

Another person in line, Louise, said: "I'm not nervous. I've been waiting two years for this."

She said that it was a long time since she'd been to the nightclub.

"About 10 years ago we went to Coppers, but we're here now for the novelty of it."

Throughout the night, nightclub goers spoke about the thrill of returning to dancing – as well as the sense of a little bit of normality returning to the world.

Many venue owners have insisted that despite the quick turnaround time, they are excited and ready to open.

Irish Culture Minister Catherine Martin told reporters on Thursday night that the hospitality industry needs to "show leadership" and ensure that they follow the new rules.

Rising case numbers and growing pressures on the health service has prompted warnings from health officials this week about a long winter ahead.

Ian Redmond, who runs the Tramline nightclub, told PA on Friday night: "I'm so excited.

"To finally get open is just amazing," he said as he stood outside the venue.

The venue was full of people by around 12.30am on Saturday morning, as music blared and masks were removed as people gravitated to the dancefloor.

"We have done everything we can. We've got the ambulance service checking temperatures. Covid ID requests, passport ID. We've done everything," Redmond said.

He did express some concern that the new guidelines on tickets would make it hard to stage smaller events and attract customers.

"Tourists coming to Ireland won't be able to walk up to our door and come in," he said.

But overall, he said it was destined to be a good night.

"It is such great news that we're back and just so excited to be open."

By Dominic McGrath, PA

source: PA

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