One of the country's top circus ringmasters and owners has recovered after a month-long battle with Covid-19.

Tom Duffy, who runs Duffy’s Circus and who recently turned 91, had a slight infection and was tested for the virus as precaution but was found to have it.

The circus, which dates back to 1870 and has one of the oldest big tops in the world, was set to open in Galway in March, but was put on hold due to the pandemic.

Usually at this time of year, the circus is doing its rounds across Ireland. Over the years, they have perhaps raised their big top in every county in Ireland, usually performing at about 80 venues each season.

A spokesperson for the family-run circus said: "We have great news. Tom has recovered from Covid-19 and would like to thank all the public for their kind messages of support.

"At 91, Covid posed a greater risk to him than other people, though as he said himself, 'I've beaten cancer twice and Covid isn't going to get the better of me either'.

"Thankfully he only had a mild virus and is now fully recovered. He would like to thank all the nurses, doctors and care staff who looked after him so well, and offer his condolences to the families of everyone who didn’t recover in the same way."

David, Mr Duffy’s son, earlier this month said: "He was was tested as a precaution because of a slight infection he had. The doctors were surprised he tested positive as he wasn’t showing any symptoms."Dad has beaten cancer twice. This will be no bother to him."

The Duffy family have lived in Bohermeen, Co Meath, for the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus has "completely destroyed" the business of circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs operating in Ireland, an umbrella group is warning.

The Irish Showmen's Guild, which represents up to 50 families working in the industry, say they are "fearful" of a backlash from communities across the country once restrictions are eased. The guild is the governing body of businesses such as Fossett's and Duffy’s Circuses and Funderland.

They have no prospect of returning to work while the risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus remains, and it will be some time before the industry recovers, even once it is safe to get back to work, they said.