As the sun-drenched bank holiday weekend approaches, there are mixed feelings about the possibility of an influx of visitors to coastal areas.
The village of Kilkee in Co Clare, hit the headlines in April after a series of threatening posters were displayed around the scenic resort town telling holiday homeowners to “f**k off”
The A4 printed pages were widely condemned by locals, but concerns remained about holiday homeowners breaking lockdown rules and travelling to the area at the height of the pandemic.
But six weeks on and with the economy hurting, some believe the attitudes of communities such as Kilkee have softened
Local FF Councillor Cillian Murphy feels the mood has changed but stresses that people need to stick to the lockdown rules.
“No more than any other coastal resort and when you look at the weather forecast for the weekend, where else would you want to be?
“But we don’t expect a mad exodus from the cities to descend on Kilkee. People have generally been respectful of the rules,” he said.
“It’s entirely understandable that people would want a change of scene and you couldn’t fault them for that.
“I think from our own community’s point of view we feel it is the last couple of weeks of restrictions and it would be a shame not to respect the rules,” he added.
“The last six or eight weeks have of course been painful for us in Kilkee, in that we rely on the revenue generated by visitors and tourists.
“We love to see people visiting Kilkee but we are not out of the woods yet and we need to stay the course.
“Ultimately, we have done an amazing job in this country and to be where we are now is a huge achievement.
“And that is fundamentally down to a sense of community and a commitment to the common good.
“We have to stick with it. We are nearly there and it will be worth it.
“There will always be a few people who will turn up here but I know the guards intend to be very strict with the checkpoints.
“And while we may end up with a few extra bodies I don’t see a flood of people descending on us. There is plenty of time for that.”
However, hotelier Michael Vaughan of Vaughan Lodge in Lahinch, Co Clare, said locals had grown tired of the “intense quietness”.
“People are just sick of it now. I’d say people would be delighted to see people around the place because we just want to get back to normal.
“There is a feeling in Lahinch that we have lost an awful lot of the season. There was a huge fear in the village previously about Covid and people bringing infection but I think most people feel differently.
“Our staff want to get back to work and we can’t stay in hibernation forever. “There is more anxiousness about getting back to normal than there is about catching Covid,” he said.
“In terms of social distancing the beach is wide open and we have loads of open space.”