All religious services can be held at 50% capacity regardless of vaccination status from next week.

"Mass with a webcam isn't the same. We're genuinely looking forward to having our parishioners back," said Fr Diarmuid Hogan.

The Oranmore Parish priest welcomed the easing of the restrictions with a mix of optimism and apprehension.

"We're optimist, it's fantastic to see things opening and moving but there's still apprehension because there is still a Delta variant and Covid hasn't gone away," he said.

Philip Green, a regular mass-goer in Fairview in Dublin, said he had got used to watching online during the pandemic but missed the real experience of being with people.

"I think it's good, the sense of community and being with people."

"I think a lot of people are isolated and they're afraid and I think it's time to break that down now."

The increased capacity in places of worship will allow for greater attendance at funerals.

Kirwans Funeral Directors in North Dublin adapted its premises to adhere to public health guidelines during the pandemic, restricting numbers and having a separate entrance and exit.

Seamus Griffin said the adherence of guidelines has been incredible. "Of course we welcome [increased numbers] because it's difficult on families that are larger, they can't bring all of their relatives into the church, or crematoria or cemetery."

"The viewing is a big part of the Irish culture".

While Mr Griffin welcomed the increased capacity, he said more clarity is needed, for example does this include crematoria and cemeteries also.

The Government has also given the green light for confirmations and communions to resume from next Monday.