The ending of restrictions on the arts and entertainment sector has been widely welcomed by local venues.
"I couldn’t believe the sense of relief,” Mark Dearey of The Spirit Store said, noting that comedian Reginald D Hunter was going on stage at the same time as Taoiseach Micheal Martin had made his address to the nation on Friday evening.
The proprietor of the popular music venue was just glad that the easing of restrictions meant a return to normal opening hours and full audiences, he was also glad that it meant the end of checking COVID-19 certs.
“People were amazing but I never felt comfortable asking them for their identification and vaccination status. I’m incredibly pleased that that intrusion into people’s private lives are over and we can get on with our lives again.”
““It feels like we’re finally coming to an end of it,” said Paul Hayes, Director of An Tain Arts Centre as he greeted the news that the restrictions which had deciminated the arts sector for nearly two years have been lifted.
"It will be absolutely fantastic to be able to welcome 100% audiences into venues again.”
He was particularly pleased at how this will benefit “all the local groups who were most affected by the pandemic.”
The team at An Tain are already busy working on the programme for live events from February to June.
“It will be hectic but it will also be quite a thrill.”
He said that audiences had shown that there was an appetite for a return to live events, even when they had to put shows on at an earlier time than usual.
"What we have noticed is that people are willing to get back out to live arts events.”
"The arts and live entertainment sector were the first to close and are one of the last to open again. This is a great day and hopefully we are over this.”
Both An Tain and The Spirit Store, and other local venues are busy planning for events for audiences keep to make up for a famine of live entertainment which has finally come to an end.