FOR what is hopefully the final re-opening, restaurants and beer gardens across Waterford re-opened today, Monday June 7 for outdoor dining and for drinks. It has been a long period of closure, and the months since Christmas have been particularly difficult for the hospitality sector. Many outdoor dining areas have been completely overhauled in order to allow trade to happen, including The Yard (located behind the Woodman), Dooley’s Hotel and The Reg. Outside the city, the Greenway Manor Hotel, the Sands and The Ranch are all boasting stunning new outdoor areas for dining and drinks. Across the city and county, parasols, outdoor tables and heated patios are all spelling out one clear message: Summer has Arrived.
Our roving photographer Joe Evans was out and about today to capture some of the merriment and excitement as the public returned to outdoor dining and drinks on what was a very sunny Bank Holiday Monday. For many regulars, it was the first time being back having a pint or a bite to eat since March 2020, when the pandemic first came to Irish shores. Today was important for a host of reasons, for businesses, for well-being, for social skills, but it also offered a sense of having reached a destination. Having kept apart for so long to protect one another, people gathered together once again to catch up, to exchange stories, and to look at the magnitude of changes the last year has seen. Groups of friends were back together again, talking and laughing and a definite sense of relief was felt all through Waterford as for many, it is beginning to feel ‘normal’ just as summer begins.