A very special socially distanced birthday celebration took place in Dublin today, for 19-year-old Emily Lloyd.

Friends and family of Emily, who has cerebral palsy and is non-verbal, took part in the celebrations in Stepaside. She had not seen them in person for some time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Emily's mum Carol Lloyd said they wanted to mark the occasion as best they could in the current circumstances.

"We're delighted that her best buddies from years and years were able to turn up today," she said, "what's really important is for us to stay well and to stay safe".

Emily was attending Enable Ireland before it stopped in March due to Covid-19, and Carol says they have had to adapt to the new normal.

"We just had to be pretty creative, we have a fabulous team of carers and we set up our own sort of, I guess, online school. We did classes every week with her buddies. That really kept us going and connected," Ms Lloyd said.

Labour councillor and friend of the Lloyd family, Lettie McCarthy said: "It's difficult on everybody, at that age you want to go out, with your friends and socialising and that's curtailed. I think the rest of us have to help out in every way possible. That's the true meaning of community."

Emily just started college in UCD last week and is now studying art deco and the modern aesthetic online.

"Emily loves life and she just wants to do what any 19-year-old would want to do," Ms Lloyd said.