Views from the street : Life after lockdown in Derry - What have you missed most?

Spring is almost over and the days are becoming warmer. The city has a buzz about it once more as we begin to see the reopening of cafes, restaurants and bars.

Liam Mullan (88) from the Lone Moor Road area says that he “misses going to the Brandywell,” to watch Derry City play.

“I went away last March to New Zealand, and I couldn’t get back until August. Best country in the world to be stuck in,” he said.

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“I come out everyday and I’m a very keen bowler. At my age, I can’t afford to loss another year. I think we start playing again at the end of August.

Bethany Richmond (left) and Aimee Hughes. DER2121GS - 017

“I play for a Limavady club, which is tough. They don’t stand for nonsense.

“We’ll get over this; we’ve had worse than this.”

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Mayor Brian Tierney said: “What I’ve missed most is socialising with family and friends, and not being able to go about your life freely. It’s been difficult but I think people understand why you can’t do it. I’m looking forward to going back to the Grand Central for a pint. I think everybody has had enough of lockdown restrictions. It’s about getting back out now in the public, but doing it safely and carefully and making sure that people are following the restrictions. By doing that, pubs, restaurants and hotels and everything else will stay open for a longer period of time.

“I’d like to thank the people of Derry and Strabane, because I think they’ve put in a tremendous effort, and right throughout the lockdown period. The businesses are reopening, the economy is reopening and we’re getting our lives back to normal.”

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88 year-old Liam Mullan. DER2121GS – 019

Bethany Richmond, 20, who works in the Metro Bar said: “I’ve missed normality and seeing life about the town really, being able to go outside, going shopping and then having a bite to eat. I miss socialising.”

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Aimee Hughes, 19, who also works in hospitality said: “My car got me through lockdown. I’ve missed the Donegal rally and the bars. I want the Metro to go back to normal so I can dance again.”

Kevin Mullan, 28, Street Musician/Busker said: “I’d love to see there be live music again in the pubs. I’d love to go to gigs to Bennigan’s and Sandinos again, a bit of trad in Peaders. If there was ever a time for lockdown, now is it. You’ve got Facebook, and everything is online. You know, imagine this happened back in the 70s or something, we would’ve all gone mad.”

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Enya Quigley, 29, works for the North West Migrants Forum. “We run a lot of community events. A lot of it would be face to face and engaging with the public, so a lot of our events had to go online over lockdown. I hope to see the town nice and busy again and all the businesses doing well. I don’t want any businesses shutting down after the hard year that they’ve had. I’m looking forward to going back to Sandinos for a wee pint.”

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane Colr. Brian Tierney with his son Cian. Photos: George Sweeney / Derry Journal. DER2121GS – 020
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Damien Cooper, 33 said: “I missed seeing street shows and anything in the town, like the markets and the things put on by the council. There has been very little of that. I haven’t really gone to the bars; I haven’t ventured yet. I hope to see more easing of restrictions and more freedom of seeing things happen in town. I normally work during the Jazz festival, and not working during the festival is weird for me. Wee things like that, it would be nice to get back to that.”

Enya Quigley. DER2121GS – 021
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Damien Cooper. DER2121GS – 016
Kevin Mullan. Photos: George Sweeney / Derry Journal. DER2121GS – 018