PINTS have been poured, cocktails have been quaffed and wines have been swilled as non-food pubs across Limerick welcomed back customers for the first time since March today.
After 190 days of closure, alcohol-only pubs were allowed open again following the Covid-19 lockdown.
Dozens of pubs across the city and the county which did not serve food opened from mid-morning, as regular customers returned to their locals, with hundreds of staff back in work for the first time in half a year.
Bars have been adapted to meet social distancing and stricter hygiene standards. Bar service is no more, with customers having to give their drinks orders to staff while sat at tables.
In the Commercial Bar in Catherine Street, Ayesha Hanrahan of Killaloe was able to enjoy her first drink as a legal adult, having celebrated her 18th birthday on April 4.
She and pal Ellen Angell enjoyed cosmopolitan cocktails.
"It was a bit underwhelming turning 18 and not being able to go anywhere. But at least we are able to do it now! It feels weird. You're not as scared, when you're younger, you're trying to get served, so it's fine," she laughed.
Niamh Brown, who works for EV+A, based above the Commercial Bar supped a pint of Beamish.
"We only moved into our new offices on the week before lockdown, so we've missed having our neighbours downstairs. Our exhibition opened last Friday, so it's good they are back. It means there is activity on every level here," she said.
Bartender Andy Mooney was delighted to be back at work after six months.
He said: "It's been six months of Netflix and boredom, so I'm delighted to be back today. It's great. Life has been put back into this building, so it's pretty good. It's a relief, and it's great for the mind, and the soul being back at work. We're looking forward to having our customers and pals back. Some of them have been as lonely and out of place as we have been. Fingers crossed it's going to go well!"
Like other newly re-opened pubs in Limerick, the Commercial will pose strict social distancing measures, with people asked to sign in and provide a contact number for contact tracing if necessary. Tables will be designated, and bookings will be taken.