Surrounded by flowers from customers are Deirdre, Sharon and Anna at Tommy Clarkes Ladies Hair Salon in Tullamore
IT feels like Tullamore is finally waking up following a long dull sleep. There is an air of hope and enthusiasm following months of lockdowns, endless covid figures, job losses and layoffs.
Hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons, libraries, and of course church are all up and running.
Clothes and shoe shops are operating a click and collect and appointment service.
At Studio One hair salon. Deirdre Gallagher was up to her eyes but delighted to be back. ''It's unbelievable, it's fantastic. I got a big bouquet of flowers this morning. Everyone is so upbeat, the staff are delighted to be back.''
Deirdre is booked up for the next six weeks and she will be working 9 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 21 days, meeting all her appointments.
Meanwhile at Tommy Clarke's Ladies Hairdressing Salon, Sharon, Anna and Deirdre were also flat out.
''It's great to be back. The customers are delighted and are practically running to their chairs. There is a lot of hair on the ground,'' said Sharon.
The stylists at Clarkes want to thank all their customers for their loyalty and patience during this time.
Meanwhile on their way to Clarkes were sisters-in-law, Marian and Kathleen Galvin.
They were looking forward to having their hair cut and styled.
''God it means so much to us. It must be 10 weeks since we got the hair done. It's great to get back,'' they said.
At Tullamore county library the mood was also cheerful. ''It was so exciting to open the doors. There is a bustle in the library this morning,'' said senior library assistant Julie McGuirk.
PICTURED: Members are delighted they can return to Tullamore library. Pictured are is senior library assistant Julie McGuirk checking out books for a patron of the library
Julie said staff were a bit anxious about opening up again but once people began coming in, it was as if they just took up where they left off.''
Like hairdressers libraries have been closed since Christmas, before that they operated a contact and collect system. The library opened at 10am last Monday morning and is by appointment only.
From next week people can request a book from another library if it's not in stock in Tullamore.
Of course what many had been eagerly awaiting was the reopening of the churches.
Dolores Smyth was donning her mask as she went into mass yesterday morning.
''It's absolutely wonderful, I'm really happy to be back, I watched mass on my phone all during the lockdown. It was grand to get back here in person yesterday (Monday May 10). Dolores's husband PJ of the popular Shalom folk choir had been singing on his own at mass every second Saturday and he too is looking forward to getting back. There is an air of delight,'' added Dolores.
PICTURED: Sadie and Eddie Leonard have been travelling for years to Tullamore to attend mass here
Husband and wife Eddie and Sadie Leonard, were also on their way into mass.
''We come from Kilcormac for years, every morning,'' said Eddie. ''It's great, wonderful, we were dying to get back and delighted to be back,'' he said.
''It means a lot mass is part of our lives, and apart from the religious aspect there is the social aspect to mass as well,'' added Sadie. ''It is important. We don't have to go to mass but I always feel I need to go mass, said Sadie.
PICTURED: Dolores Smyth is delighted to be able to attend mass once again
From May 17 all retail will be allowed to reopen.
Then from June 2 – hotels, B&Bs, hostels and self-catering can all reopen. However, these will be subject to certain conditions.
Later in the month of June restaurants and bars can open outside only with groups of up to six customers.
Matches can be played outdoors but with no spectators.
Swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres can reopen for individual training only.
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