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Image / Editorial

Ireland is reopening but where are people supposed to use the toilet?


By Edaein OConnell
09th Jun 2020
Ireland is reopening but where are people supposed to use the toilet?

Ireland is reopening, but until phase three, where are we supposed to use the toilet if we plan to venture out for the first time in months?


Last November, in pre-armageddon times, I was in New York.

The air was crisp, the sky was blue and my view was filled with the Manhattan skyline. I had just consumed three overpriced Aperol Spritz at a fancy cocktail lounge by myself. It was in the West Village and all I had come there to do was live out my Magnolia Bakery Sex and the City fantasy.

As any lady will know, three glasses of alcohol makes the bladder do a dance. I stupidly left the drinkery without using the bathroom and 10,000 steps later realised I had made a grave mistake. I walked and walked for what seemed like an eternity along the shaded streets to find a lavatory but none could be found.

It seemed I had stumbled upon the only part of New York without bars, hotels, or Starbucks.

By this stage, I was dancing a jig along the streets of the Big Apple. In those moments of torture, I yearned to be on the boat back to my beautiful emerald isle. An island where toilets in businesses are a dime a dozen and you are always within five kilometres of a Centra with a toilet out the back.

Staying inside

That New York minute will never leave me. Any time I have the tiniest inclination of needing to go to the bathroom, my heart flutters in panic. In the months following, I made a mental note of all the bathrooms in my vinicity so as to avoid disaster. Although, I was always safe in the knowledge that Ireland was one toilet away from becoming a bathroom showroom.

But now look at us?

What have we at all?

The country is opening but not the toilets. Does anyone understand the human body?

Not to be biased but County Kerry where I currently reside is blessed with beauty. When we got word in the north of the county that we could travel wherever we pleased within the boundary lines, our automatic thought was to go to Dingle.

An acquaintance of the family explained that they too had this idea on Monday. Yet when they were about to drive away, they realised there would be nowhere to go to the toilet.

They swiftly decided they would be safer staying inside, protected from both coronavirus and their bladders.

Temporary public toilets

Yesterday as shops reopened in the capital, Dublin City Council announced their plans to install temporary public toilet facilities in St Stephen’s Green and Wolfe Tone Square, while bathrooms would also be available at the Ilac Centre and St Patrick’s Park at City Hall off Barnardo Square.

A spokesperson for the council said people should ‘be mindful’ of very limited public facilities when travelling to the city.

It seems the capital is making moves, but what about the rest of the country? Public toilet facilities are lacking at the best of times in most towns. The need for a temporary build in our main urban centre highlights the fact. In hindsight, our dependency on cafés, restaurants and hotels was for far more than just leisure and a cappuccino.

Most supermarkets have shut theirs and under guidelines from wholesalers such as Musgraves, toilets are to remain shut.

Nevertheless, on June 29 we will enter phase three. Cafés and restaurants will reopen, and going on a walk to get a coffee won’t be the panic pee-inducing episode it is currently. Yet, it begs the question: why don’t we have more public facilities in general?

Unless councils across the country decide to build temporary stations, we will have to hold it in until the next stage. You may presume I am joking but I am, in fact, being deadly serious.

If you are pregnant, a small child, have a small bladder, a kidney infection, or indeed, are just a person, please avoid tea, coffee, Aperol Spritz and water at least two hours before you plan to make a socially distanced trip outside for the first time in months.

If you don’t, you could very well end up like me in New York.

Wishing yourself to be somewhere else entirely.


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