The first step when planning any documentary is usually a cup of tea and a chat with potential contributors. But film-making in a time of Coronavirus presents a whole new set of challenges -and rewards, writes MayDay: 24 Hours in Ireland's Lockdown director John Downes.

Nurses and doctors on the frontline. Funeral directors struggling to comfort grieving families. Parents facing their own health difficulties. And others doing their best just to keep going during lockdown.

This is a certainly unique time in Irish life, ripe with potential stories for any documentary team. No family or friendship group has been left untouched by the impact of Covid-19. It has taken a wrecking ball to the economy but also encouraged a renewed sense of community.

Knowing there are great stories out there is one thing. But getting access to actually film with our contributors, across one 24-hour period, presented us with an entirely new set of challenges.

Gone were the informal cups of tea in living rooms and kitchens around the country, so often the starting point of any good Irish story.

In their place were far less personal video calls and telephone chats, with camera kits sent out around the country for individuals to film themselves and their lives.

On Friday 24 April over the course of 24 hours, we were privileged to be allowed inside the homes and lives of Irish people during this unique moment for the country.

Filming took place in upwards of 20 locations, supplemented by content submitted online by people from all walks of life. The result is, we hope, a collection of stories that shows Ireland in lockdown at a time of unimaginable strain, and remarkable resilience.

Along the way, we met a young truck driver working every hour he can to keep the country's supermarket shelves stocked, a Cavan postman who likes a good sing-song, and a cocooning farmer and her granddaughter who have names for their cows. 

That was just by breakfast.

MayDay: 24 Hours in Ireland's Lockdown - a co-production between RTÉ Factual and Current Affairs, airs on RTÉ One tonight at 9.35 pm.