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More eyes on Bundoran than Benidorm as tourists face up to departure from the norm

Dan O'Brien


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Flying restart: A staff member uses an electrostatic sprayer to dispense disinfectant at check-in at Dublin Airport. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Flying restart: A staff member uses an electrostatic sprayer to dispense disinfectant at check-in at Dublin Airport. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Colin Keegan

Flying restart: A staff member uses an electrostatic sprayer to dispense disinfectant at check-in at Dublin Airport. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Two days ago Dublin should have hosted a last-16 match in soccer's Euro 2020 finals. Fans thronging the capital would have added to the usual high-season influx of tourists, making the city a riot of colour and revelry. Pubs would have been packed, pints would have flowed and hotel rooms would have been impossible to find.

Things turned out very differently. Europe's quadrennial football tournament was postponed months ago. Instead of millions of foreign visitors pouring on to the island and spending billions, the nation's airports have been more like echoey mausoleums than the bustling hubs of humanity of times past. Ferries have been empty, apart from truckers hauling essential supplies.

The last time so few people arrived on these shores over a three-month period was probably during World War II, when people also risked their lives coming and going (Nazi submarines, not a virus, were what troubled travellers then).