Can you dance without a mask on when ordering a drink at the bar? Just some of the rules in place as Irish nightclubs reopen today – but those of you in Northern Ireland will have to wait another week!

Nightclubs are finally open again as of today in Ireland. For the past three months, a curious anomaly has been in place where if you lived on the island of Ireland and fancied going to a club, it meant a flight across the Irish Sea. They were closed on both sides of the border, with Stormont and Dublin showing little interest in reopening them.

So if you intend to go clubbing tonight in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick or wherever, what rules do you have to follow? Well, for starters, you must be able to prove you’re double jabbed. Quite simply, if you’re not, you won’t be allowed in. I can’t help but suspect this is a policy which will soon ensure Garda Siochana* are busy trying to close down illegal raves, but I digress.

Elsewhere, you’ll need to wear a face mask. Except when drinking. You won’t need one whilst doing that. Or whilst having a dance. Capacity is restricted to 1500 people when standing up, but more if some people are sitting down. Quite how you ensure no more than 1500 people are on their feet at any one time is something the Taoiseach** has yet to explain.

Oh, and bar service is allowed once again. This one doesn’t just apply to nightclubs. However, people will need to put on a mask to go to the bar and order their drink, return to the table wearing the mask and take it off to actually drink the damn thing. And pretty much the only way to avoid having to wear a mask whilst ordering a drink at the bar is to dance whilst in the queue.

Which, by the way, you have to do in a socially distanced manner. Yes, you have to remain two metres apart in a queue for the bar. Which goes down to one meter if you’re wearing a mask, but goes up to two again if you’re dancing which means you won’t be wearing a mask. Because you’re dancing.

And none of these rules apply in Northern Ireland. Because it’s under different rules, where nightclubs remain closed until Halloween – but rest assured some civil servant in Belfast is writing all this stuff down and working out if they can make the Northern Irish rules even more baffling to follow.

After all that, I need to go and have a coffee. Extra shot of Baileys in this one, please!


* The official name for the Irish police. ** Irish term for Prime Minister.