Today is the last day of February. It was the final day of the month, 29 February, last year that the first case of Covid-19 was recorded in Ireland. As she reflects on the year we have all witnessed, here are the words of journalist and broadcaster Olivia O'Leary.


It felt like our generation's war.

The troops at the front line. The rest of us at home, often separated from our loved ones. Suddenly old wartime songs like 'We'll meet again' made us want to cry.

Real life was being lived somewhere else, on the other side of a pane of glass.

Not for the frontline workers. It was all too real for them.

But the rest of us saw the world on a screen, or watched a parent die through a nursing home window, or followed the funerals of our friends on laptops.

We were seeing life only through a mirror, like Tennyson's cursed Lady of Shalott. And we too were "half sick of shadows".

Of all the senses, touch, human touch, was the one we wanted most and couldn't have.

If there is a heaven, it has a place for those carers who held the hand of strangers as they died.

It was a year that was both worse, and better, than we expected.

Worse because the virus outwitted us for so long, because so many died.

Better because of the brave people who made sure we did not suffer total chaos - and because of the scientists.

Last year, vaccines were a faint hope. Now the vaccines are here, fighting the war on our side, and spring with all its glory brings the promise that, maybe this year, some sunny day, we will meet again.