Touching, sweating, holding hands, heavy breathing. No, it's not an episode of Normal People. It's set-dancing, and it's the coronavirus's dream. Not far behind, and another potentially dangerous endeavour, is the trad session. Hordes of sputtering whistlers, salivating flute players and warbling singers project their spittle into the air while playing shoulder to shoulder in a tight circle as punters shout "hup" across a crowded bar.
It all looks different in the shadow of a pandemic. Yet nothing beats the energy of a live music session, and musicians and dancers across the country are champing at the bit, waiting for the day they can get back to the familiar nooks and crannies of their local pub to play music together. But how will our cultural pursuits move forward safely in this post-lockdown era?
Co Longford set-dance teacher and former nurse Mairéad Casey is among those who have concerns.
"They're holding hands, and close enough to be breathing on top of each other as well, so it's a no-no," she says. This is even more pertinent considering it's mostly an older generation who carries on the set-dancing tradition in Ireland. Will they want to be in such proximity after cocooning?
Dancing with scarves to elongate the arms, or with dummies, have been proposed as alternatives. "But then the whole love of dancing goes out the window - the music and the contact, the enjoyment of all being together in that small group," says Casey.
"We danced at a festival last summer in a marquee and the walls were weeping with condensation, just dropping down. So that was everybody's breath in that moisture coming back down on top of us. If you think about those things, no way - you can't do it," she adds.
"But that's the reality - other people's sweat is getting on to you no matter what you do. So I don't know how you'd prevent that, every time you go to dance with someone - spray them with disinfectant first? I don't think so."
"It'd be fantastic if we could get to September and know that we're clear. But I can't see it happening this year. I can't see us going back until there's a vaccine or there's none of it in Ireland."
Pádraig McEneany, who teaches set-dancing in the Cobblestone in Smithfield, Dublin, says a lot of people involved in dancing would be in the at-risk category. "Half of our dancers would be over 60. It is a worry," he says.
McEneany adds many dancers are reluctant to return before a Covid-19 vaccine is available, "whereas others are very keen and will say 'if we're washing our hands and following our coughing and sneezing etiquette, we should be able to go back'."
He hopes to get back dancing next January. "I see it going back to the older way, house dances where you only had eight dancers and they were all closely related or friends, part of the pod," he says. "So you're containing the numbers like that and you wouldn't have outsiders."
He has done a masterclass online to help people brush up on neglected steps. "People were learning all their dancing at ceilís and the standard would have gone down in the last 20 years," he says.
"They'd be shuffling and jumping and they're putting a bang in here and a jump in there. The niceties of the steps were being lost, so this is an opportunity to practise the technique. So that might be something good that does come out of it."
Is there the risk that over the span of a year, people will forget about set-dancing? "Certainly, there will be some people who will not come back," he admits. "And there will be older people that might bow out of it completely. But I would be hopeful. People have missed it, there will be people raring to go."
Tom Flaherty hosts a regular Thursday night trad session at Na Fianna GAA Club in Glasnevin. Their group quickly turned to Zoom to fill the gap sessions left, though time lags means it is not ideal for musicians playing together, often leading to a garbled mess of sound.
"But the quality was reasonably good if one person played," says Flaherty. The rest muted and played along.
"We had to explain the rules of muting. We were making sure that people realised that if you do say something that you don't want people to hear, you could be in trouble."
They have done 14 sessions with about 20 participants every week. "People joined from abroad, from Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. The amount of people coming from around Europe was brilliant to see, to know that people were touching base with Ireland. And hopefully it gave them a little bit of solace abroad."
He thinks social distancing might be hard to police at sessions. "It won't be too bad placing seats a metre or two apart but it's keeping that distance as the night goes on. Nobody wants to be saying 'well, you can't really do that any more, sit down and just play the fiddle'."
"But what we want to do is get back playing and I think all musicians will obey any rule if it means that they're allowed perform. The alternative is absolutely terrible."
Flaherty is more than looking forward to getting back to live sessions. "I can't wait for the day that we're back like that. I'd say it'll be quite emotional, actually. But it's going to be a funny summer, I think. I don't know how welcoming publicans will be to people coming in with instruments. The whole idea of a load of people going into a small bar inside - it looks fairly doubtful for this year anyway."
Tig Chóilí, the celebrated Galway trad music pub, usually has an impressive 14 sessions a week.
"We're still awaiting guidelines from the Government on what the deal will be with music," says publican Aonghus O'Flaherty. "But as soon as we are allowed have a session, we will have a session."
There is the danger that once the music starts, dancers and musicians alike will dive straight in, social-distancing forgotten. "They might not let us have music straight away because, as Gloria Estefan says, the rhythm's going to get you," he says. "We get a lot of dancers coming in here, they'd have a pint, they'd be just listening to the music and the foot'd be going and then there'd be a bit of a space and they'd tear off and do a bit of a set.
"Everything will be cautious when we first get back into it, and understandably so. If everything's going the right way, I suppose people's confidence would be up a bit more."
For Comhaltas, everything came to a standstill. All its fleadhanna have been cancelled, leaving 25,000 competitors disappointed.
"We've been trying to keep people's frame of mind, their mental health, in a good place and try to give them a bit of support as we move along," says Tomás Ó Maoldomhnaigh, general secretary of the cultural organisation. Some good news comes in the form of a virtual All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil, to be broadcast early next month by TG4.
There is the possibility of a move forward, with 100 people permitted inside from July 20, according to the Government roadmap. Whether sessions will return straightaway is anyone's guess.
Will this be Ireland's first ever summer without music? "It's the six-million-dollar question really," says Ó Maoldomhnaigh. "It's such a strange situation that nobody actually knows what will be in line for us next week or the week after, we really don't know." Probably a case of play it by ear.