It was a day when so much changed and yet it was all about returning to the once familiar.

The chance to - in the words of the Taoiseach - "be ourselves again."

It was a day when Micheál Martin spoke about the possibility of drinking a pint in a relaxed atmosphere while not looking over his shoulder.

Talk, too, of a weekend trip to Killarney to watch Kerry versus Cork.

Handshakes are also permitted again, if people are comfortable with it.

It was all many miles away from the bleak days that have just passed.

The swift nature of the change is at times almost difficult to comprehend, given the persistent visibility of very dark clouds for so long.

Yet it was pointed out that it is not an end at all - just a new phase where life can resume along the lines of spring 2020.

Indeed, it was the anticipation of that season and its potential to renew which set the tone for speeches from the Taoiseach and later the Tánaiste.

There was much reflection, too, on the lives lost and the grief and anxiety felt by many.

Amid it all though, a sense that something fundamental had altered in the approach to weathering the pandemic storm.

The reasons cited were the ability of the health service to withstand the challenge of omicron and the "game changing" impact of vaccines.

All this led Government to quickly lift almost all restrictions because they were no longer underpinned by public health advice.

This, the Taoiseach said, was central to retaining the public's trust.

And that's important because at some point in the future, the Government knows it might have to seek that trust again if new restrictions are required.

This an acknowledgment that even on the good days there are no guarantees about the future.