File photo: David Wardell from the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens
Many Kildare businesses are getting set to reopen this week, after the Government’s reopening roadmap was announced on Thursday.
Hairdressers, barbers and beauticians can start seeing clients again from next Monday, May 10. Click and collect retail will also open from that date, while remaining non-essential retail services can resume from Monday, May 17.
Hotels and other outdoor accommodation services can reopen in early June, as can outdoor drinking and dining - with the return of indoor bars and nightclubs expected later this summer.
While many Kildare businesses and amenities will have to wait a little while longer to reopen, two local tourist attractions were thrilled to welcome back visitors last week.
Set on over 60 acres, Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park near Rathangan is easing back into some sort of normality.
“We are opened from Wednesday to Sunday for May and June, and then seven days a week in July and August,” said manager, Ray Stapleton.
“All bookings are online. That makes it easier for us to contact trace and limit the numbers. We did that after the first lockdown and it was very successful. We got great feedback from Trip Advisor and Facebook. People have been very decent and patient with us.”
The indoor exhibitions are closed but where possible, some of the exhibits have been moved where people can see them. The park has a new large outdoor picnic area and people can access the cafe to order their food.
“People are just delighted to get back out. We are getting a great reaction, especially from visitors who may live in built up areas, the kids are loving the freedom we have to offer. It’s great to see a buzz back in the park again. We are just over the moon to be back open.”
Meanwhile, over at the Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens in Kildare town, tourism development manager David Wardell was delighted to reach another milestone in the reopening phases. Having facilitated members within the 5km limit, then members within the county, now the stud is open to non members within the county.
“We are absolutely delighted. We’ve had a slow build up. For the last week, we have been open to the public. The smiles on people’s faces as they come in, it’s lovely to see. There is so much open space here. It’s been a busy time of the year, we’ve had 270 foals born here.”
He said people can book online with three slots available per day - 10am to 12 noon, 12 to 2pm, and 2pm to 5pm. “We have also opened a new picnic area and we’ve put games in there. We have quite a lot going on. It’s brilliant. It’s a lovely time of the year, the gardens are looking great and the cherry blossoms are in bloom,” he said.
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