Hotels and restaurants around Killarney were on cloud nine this week as they celebrated finally being able to re-open their doors and get back to doing what they do best.
Monday saw the re-opening of large parts of the hospitality sector with the biggest (and most celebrated) ticket item being both pubs and restaurants welcoming the return of customers for outdoor dining.
For Sheila O'Callaghan from The Lake Hotel in Killarney, the positivity around this week's re-opening will live long in the memory for everyone.
"We opened up fully last Wednesday, and that went really, really well. We were delighted to welcome back so many of our residents again. We had a lot of repeat customers and a lot of new ones as well. We were just thrilled to be able to re-open our doors and get back to doing what we do best," said Sheila. "Because it was a bank-holiday weekend, we were quite heavily booke,d and so we had a lot of residents dining, but we were able to welcome a lot of external guests as well. After such a long time of being locked down, I don't think that anyone will forget their first meal or their first stay-cation or their first drink out. Everyone is just really, really happy," Sheila continued.
"We've been overwhelmed by the support of our guests. We've got a really loyal guest following that have been coming to us for many years, and so we are just very grateful for all the support that they have given to us. I'm very hopeful that our industry will bounce back quickly enough. There is a pent-up demand for people to be able to get out and to enjoy themselves.
"We're very fortunate here with our space, we are surrounded by nature and we are able to offer a nice out-door dining experience," Sheila continued.
Likewise at the Heights Hotel, the mood was one of happiness and positivity.
"Everything went really well here. We were very busy, we had lots of residents dining with us. We have our restaurant open and our bar open, so we were kept on our toes. We're very happy to be back, finally," said front desk manager of the hotel Olga Pibor said on Tuesday.
Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Cllr Niall Kelleher said Killarney is looking forward to welcoming locals and visitors to the town throughout the summer months.
"There is a lot of optimism and confidence in the season shead. Killarney is looking forward to welcoming visitors and to a very busy season ahead," he said.
He added that there are some challenges in re-opening the tourism sector but that Killarney is ready for the season ahead.