Nowhere is that more evident than in the classic Irish pubs, where socialising and singing have finally returned – a culture no longer taken for granted by the locals.
“We missed it dearly as a society here, and having it back is an incredible boost to morale,” said Commins.
The hospitality industry in Ireland expects international travellers to return in droves this summer, so spring and autumn may be the best time to beat the global crowds. Among locals, the vaccination programme has been one of the most successful across Europe, with more than 95% of adults vaccinated and 72% receiving a booster.
Dublin opened in September and aims to be one of Ireland’s most sustainable hotels, eschewing the use of any fossil fuels. “They use 100% renewable energy, avoid single-use plastics and source locally as much as possible,” said Kate McCabe, co-founder.
Co Galway has embraced its connection and responsibility to the land. The estate has worked to remove invasive plant species and developed a biodiversity plan for the grounds that helps protect the salmon that run within the neighbouring Owenmore River.
Ireland requires either proof of vaccination or proof of recovery from a Covid-19 infection within the past six months. As of 1 February, travellers must also have a booster dose if it has been more than 270 days since the final dose in the initial vaccine series.
Face covering requirements were fully lifted across Ireland in February, with the exception of health-care environments. Many local public health experts within the country still recommend the wearing of masks, but their use is voluntary.