Welcome to Chapter Four of the Irish Examiner's #CoronavirusSolidarity diary.
Every week we will be highlighting for posterity those stories which capture the unique community spirit of Ireland's response to the ongoing crisis. Please let us know about community initiatives which have been set up to offer support to those most impacted by the crisis or examples of people who are going above and beyond the call of duty. Tag us at @irishexaminer and use #CoronavirusSolidarity.
Read Chapter One here.
Read Chapter Two here.
Read Chapter Three here.
Marvel Comics artist Will Sliney to teach kids how to draw
Cork artist Will Sliney will be teaching kids how to draw this week.
The Marvel artist, famed for drawing Spider-Man, will join RTÉ’s Home School Hub with a new feature - learn how to draw.
Will Sliney joins the Múinteoirí 🤣April 12, 2020
When schools were originally shut last month due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Will started a #WeWillDraw innovative on social media, encouraging kids to draw.
Read the full story here
Anonymous donation ensures every child and elderly person in West Kerry parish receives Easter egg
A kind person in the small parish of Baile an Fheirtéaraigh, West Kerry has left €500 euro in the local shop to buy every child an elderly person in the area an Easter egg.
The anonymous donation will see roughly 250 eggs are being delivered to locals.
What a wonderful gesture this is!!!
Somebody has left €500 euro in the local shop to buy an Easter egg for every single child and elderly person cocooning in the little parish of Baile an Fheirtéaraigh. 250 eggs being delivered. #WestKerry #Anonymous #Covid_19ireland pic.twitter.com/e9dmENQ4r8— Seán Mac an tSíthigh (@Buailtin) April 12, 2020
#ShineYourLight: Irish at home and abroad honour frontline workers
Last night, people across the country have joined together to "Shine Your Light" to honour frontline staff and healthcare workers tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Everyone took part in the gesture at 9pm tonight by lighting candles, grabbing lamps, shining torches or even putting up Christmas lights to express hope and remember those who have died from the virus and their loved ones.
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina took part in the event from Áras an Uachtaráin.
President and Sabina Higgins joined the 'Shine Your Light' / 'Lanraigh Do Sholas' campaign, lighting lanterns as a symbol of hope and solidarity.https://t.co/PeqaS8DbqI #ShineYourLight pic.twitter.com/jdKChYe5CD— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) April 11, 2020
Many people around the country and abroad got involved.
A lot of neighbours out at 9 for #ShineYourLight One women wanted to show her respect to frontline workers, victims and families in a different way. Lovely moment of community in these isolating times #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/kTi5FsZOho— Brian McDonald (@brianmcd87) April 11, 2020
#ShineYourLight: Glen Hansard joins chorus of people encouraging Ireland to honour frontline workers
People across the country are being urged to "Shine Your Light" at 9pm tonight to honour frontline staff and healthcare workers tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Everyone is invited to take part in a gesture intended to express hope as well as remember those who have died and their loved ones.
President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina will take part from Áras an Uachtaráin while Irish embassies and missions around the world are participating as well.
Many people will be lighting a candle at home but some buildings are getting involved too.
Read the full storyhere.
Drogheda hospital staff applaud first Covid-19 patient discharged from ICU
Nursing staff at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda ave shared a video of their first Covid-19 patient to be discharged from intensive care.
The patient is seen being wheeled along a corridor as staff wearing personal protective equipment applaud his recovery.
Some well needed good news!! Our first ICU discharge during Covid 19 today!! 👏👏👏Only possible due to the phenomenal work ethic of all the team.
**Patient gave consent for the video** pic.twitter.com/76rfQxQipm— OLOLNursing (@NursingOlol) April 10, 2020
Free online activity programme for kids mad about science
A PhD student at University College Cork (UCC) is providing a free online weekly activity programme for children interested in science and technology.
Marinara Marcato, a PhD student at the Tyndall National Institute in UCC, established SMART Edu Club, to create high quality, educational content for children in a fun and engaging way.
Now as our world is confined to our homes and parents have to "home school" their kids, she is running a free weekly programme online for children aged 7 upwards.
The topics for the activities include binary number and text encoding, data encryption, GPS coordinates and systems, and finally drones. Parents do not need any prior knowledge, as lessons contain very accessible language and clear instructions.
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HOW DO COMPUTERS KEEP YOUR INFORMATION SAFE? . You may have heard that they use Cryptography. Even though it is a pretty complex topic, we found a way of making this fun and accessible! . Activity #2: Secret Messages Disclosed is now live on our website! Your #SMARTCookie will learn how to best encode secret messages to keep them safe! They will have lots of fun while decoding some riddles using a Caesar Cipher Wheel! . We will share some #SMARTCookie updates here later, so make sure to tag us @smarteduclub when posting the activity and use #SMARTEduChallenge . #TechWeek2020 #RoboWeek #SMARTFamily #SMARTEduClub
“With SMART Edu Club we want to create online content and activities that children can do from home with easily accessible household materials. The activities can be done individually or with the guidance from parents” commented Marinara, who is also a part-time STEAM teacher.
The challenge is running now until April 25. Parents and kids are sent all activities and can sign up here for free - https://smarteduclub.com/challenge/
Hundreds of children send Easter cards to cocooning elderly after Garda appeal
Hundreds of children from all over the country have answered a Garda appeal to make cards for the elderly in isolation this Easter.
The appeal for an initial 100 cards by Meath gardaí was met five fold as little artists took the time to sent greeting cards to surrogate grandparents all over the county.
Navan community garda Stacey Looby began delivering the cards to nursing homes and older people living on their own this weekend after the huge nationwide response.
"I had hoped for 100 cards for 68 residents in a nursing home and another 30 who I shop for and visit while they are in isolation.
"So I put out an appeal and within a week, I had nearly 500 cards from children from Tipperary, Limerick, Offaly - every county in the country almost.
"The cards are handmade and have lovely messages and poems asking the elderly to stay positive and safe during the Covid-19 crisis.
"They are from girls and boys from all ages just wanting to help put a smile on someone who may feel a little lonely this Easter. It's lovely that they'll know someone is thinking of them."
Cocooning library users 'over the moon' about home delivery service
By Liz Dunphy
“Santa Claus just arrived,” one delighted housebound library user proclaimed as Cork County Council dropped books to their door.
The council is delivering books and audiobooks to the doorsteps of Cork’s cocooning and vulnerable to keep them entertained and connected throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
And library member J.W. said that the council’s delivery “out-did my highest, most optimistic hopes.”
“The choices are fantastic,” they said. “I am over the moon after 14 days of isolation.
"Things are getting a little stressful but this is so amazing. I cannot thank you enough.”
Cork County Council staff delivered over 200 boxes of books directly to library borrowers’ homes within its first week of operation, allowing the housebound to stay entertained as the global pandemic keeps them inside.
Five library drivers now work daily on the service, collecting boxes from the local library, before delivering them directly to homes across Cork County, from Kilworth to Kilcrohane.
And the Housebound book delivery service is also being run for city dwellers by Cork City Council.
Liam Ronayne of Cork City Library said that one of their clients is 107 years old, and that having books delivered through the Covid-19 Crisis has been a lifeline for many.
“Having the books is more important than ever now,” he said.
“One lady who’s 96 has had her home help withdrawn, she said, ‘thank God you’re here. If I didn’t have books I’d have no one.’ It’s very important to people.
“The oldest person we have is 107. She was born on Bere island, she’s had an incredible life. And we have a few other people over 100.
“For some, that small book consignment is the only outside contact they’ll have.”
Mr Ronayne said that the service has seen a 10% increase since the coronavirus outbreak.
He said that the librarians “generally know the likes of the individual” and they know from the database if their client has already read a certain book.
“It’s a very personal service. We used to stop and chat but now we drop the books at their door,” Mr Ronayne said.
“We deliver 500 - 600 books every week. Some of these people have been readers all their lives. They devour them. You can take out up to 12 books and a lot of people do take out the full 12.”
Popular novels are what people go for most, he said, but “people come in all shapes and sizes” and their reading lists reflect that too.
Cork City Library has also donated two 3-D printers from Grand Parade and Bishopstown libraries for use in Benchspace co-workspace in Cork which is making free visors for frontline health workers to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
A nationwide campaign was launched today to pay tribute to workers on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic and to highlight their continued hard work and dedication.
The #MyHeroes campaign encourages members of the public to show their appreciation to all the essential workers who are keeping the country running during this difficult time, and to share a story or message about them online using the campaign hashtag.
Members of the public can put forward a message about any frontline worker in their life, from Healthcare workers, Armed Forces, Fire Brigade, Community Workers and Carers, to Supermarket Workers and Journalists. The campaign also underlines the government’s ‘Stay at Home’ message, by encouraging people to reach out to loved ones online.
When a tweet has been selected to feature in the campaign, an illustration of the digital screen, and how the message has appeared, will then be replied to the person so they can share their support further through social media, and - most importantly - show their hero their appreciation.
Ireland's biggest online quiz
Charities benefit from thousands joining Ireland's biggest online quiz.
A new online quiz has raised thousands of euro for charity while keeping quizzers entertained in the comfort of their own homes during the country’s current ‘lockdown’ period.
Set up and presented live by two Cork natives, Patrick Ahern and Colm Lougheed, the quiz runs twice weekly and among the charities already set to benefit from proceeds are Marymount Hospice and Cope Foundation.
The online quiz invites participants to join as teams, pairs or individuals every Tuesday and Friday night through Facebook or YouTube with the two hosts delivering the questions and answers live alongside a running commentary of banter and chat.
Quizzers can also interact with the quiz and each other live via a chat room displayed beside the questions.
So far, thousands of people have played the quiz which saw almost €5000 raised last week for Marymount Hospice.
This Friday's quiz has a movie theme and will kick off at at 8.15pm before round one at 9pm.
Tickets are €6 and include all the fees. Only one ticket is allowed per device.
Tickets available at here
45 min before the Quiz starts people will be emailed the code and instructions.
Penneys donating products during Covid-19 crisis
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We are proud to be working with our teams across the globe to support the amazing frontline workers, local charities and hospitals who are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. We will be donating Primark products to those in need, in partnership with healthcare and charitable organisations in a number of countries. This is our team helping your team. Stay Safe, #stayhome and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Irish retailer Penneys is donating its products to frontline workers, local charities and hospitals who are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Penneys, which trades as Primark outside of Ireland, will be providing the products around the world.
"We will be donating Primark products to those in need, in partnership with healthcare and charitable organisations in a number of countries. This is our team helping your team," the company said.
Louth man to run around his house 550 times in ultra marathon fundraiser for front line staff
An ultra-marathon runner will literally be going around in circles hundreds of times this Easter to help support frontline staff.
Ollie McHugh, who has run 30 marathons as well as a number of ultra-marathons, said, “I will do 63 km, which is a marathon and a half.”
He said it is easy to complain about not being able to leave your home but then he saw a news report, “about frontline staff trying to get their kids minded and I thought look at the hardship they are going through.”
“We have nothing to worry about; we are here in the sunshine and can go out into the garden, and all the time they are still doing their full work, trying to go home to their own families as well and all the risks they are taking.I said why sit and do nothing, try and do something.”
With prompting from his youngest daughter Sarah (13) it was decided he would run an ultra-marathon.
He would normally complete a marathon (42 km) in three and a half hours and says he will not feel under pressure to do the 63 km.
“I will take my time. It will be a nice jog about 550 times around the house and garden.”
Ollie, who lives in Tenure, Co Louth with his wife Helen and three daughters said, “I know quite a number of people who work in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital.”
Ollie and Helen have lost people to cancer in recent years and they would like some of the monies he raises to go to the Oncology unit in the hospital.
He has set a target of E5,000 and while he has had offers of support from people who would stand outside his fence or would drive by and beep their horn, he does not want that.
“Any support should be through the GoFundMe page. I want everybody at home, I do not want to encourage anybody to go out. Everybody should stay at home especially the weekend that is in it.”
Ollie starts his ultra-marathon this Saturday morning at 8am.
6,000 Easter eggs to be delivered to children in emergency accommodation
Six thousand Easter eggs have been donated to help put smiles on the faces of homeless children.
Following Health Minister Simon Harris’ announcement that the Easter Bunny has been given the go ahead to work this weekend, Mars Ireland has donated trucks full of chocolate goodies to Inner City Helping Homeless.
This means everyone’s favourite furry friend will be able to deliver Easter eggs to children in emergency accommodation, such as B&B’s, hostels and hotels.
The donation was received via the charity partners, Food Could who have been working closely with them during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cork barbers offer free haircuts to frontline staff
Cork barbers JFM Manscaping Lounge are offering frontline staff haircuts, beard trims and other services free of charge,
In a post on their Facebook page, the businesses said: "JFM appreciates everything our frontline workers are doing for us during this pandemic."
Aldi introduces prioritised shopping for frontline staff
Aldi Ireland has announced new measures to ensure frontline staff have prioritised access to its 142 stores nationwide.
Beginning Thursday, April 9, all frontline staff providing essential services will be allowed priority access to stores.
Priority access for frontline staff applies seven days a week, from 9am to 8pm.
Where store colleagues are limiting the number of customers in-store, any frontline staff with a relevant form of ID will be allowed to enter the store as soon as social distancing guidelines permit.
Nursing home residents encourage social distancing through video message
Residents of Maryfield Nursing Home in Dublin have shared their #stayathome message, encouraging the public to observe social distancing.
"Every new day is a gift and every moment of that day should be a blessing for ourselves and for those we live with," one resident says.
Another adds: "I do my best to try and apply to the rules because I realise how serious this virus is and I hope everybody else does the same. Please God, it won't be long until we're back to our old ways again."
Neighbours enjoy outdoor movie screenings during Covid crisis
By Eoin English
From indoor streaming to outdoor screening — neighbours on a city terrace have found a novel way to combat social isolation.
They enjoyed an outdoor screening of a Hollywood classic from the comfort of their front gardens— all while observing physical distancing and social isolation guidelines.
The residents of Frankfield Villas, a terrace of 14 houses on Windmill Rd near Cork city centre, set up couches, patio heaters and outdoors lights in their front gardens to watch the 1953 Marilyn Monroe classic comedy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, last weekend.
The movie was projected onto the gable-end of a house on the terrace while the soundtrack was broadcast to their radios. And they all made a contribution to Age Action.
Old sewing machines put to use in community effort to make medical masks
- Louise Walsh
Old sewing machines have been pulled out of the attic as a community gets stitched up to make masks in order to take the pressure off frontline supplies.
Over 400 face masks have been made in a week as more and more people seamlessly get on board the Masks 4 All Ireland campaign across Meath.
The initiative was started by three women who came across each other online last week, each wanting to do something to help from home where they are in lockdown.
One of the founders, Debbie Curran from Kildalkey said the group has been inundated with requests for masks from community groups and nursing homes outside the county looking for facial protection.
Read the full story here
AA providing free breakdown service to healthcare staff and elderly
AA Ireland has introduced a free breakdown service for healthcare workers and older motorists in the event that their car breaks down.
AA Rescue will attend to calls from healthcare staff whether they are AA Members on not for the duration of the crisis. Healthcare staff and elderly members of the public can contact a priority line on 01 617 9059.
We will continue to offer support to our existing AA Members, but we want to ensure that those on the front lines of fighting this virus and those most at risk are being looked after,” Cono Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated.
11-year-old donates her confirmation money to Cork community hospital
An 11-year-old, who was to make her Confirmation over the weekend, has donated the money she received to help fight the Covid-19 crisis.
Libby Fallon received money from her relatives to celebrate the big day although the ceremonies have been one of the many events cancelled throughout the country.
The Cork schoolgirl handed over the money to Bandon Community Hospital to help in any way it could, from PPE equipment to meals for healthcare workers.
Food donated to Penny Dinners
Non-perishable foods have been donated to Cork Penny Dinners.
Volunteer members from various clubs in Douglas gathered the items at Frankfield church.
Video by Eddie O'Hare.
Residents' delight as Easter treats and PPE delivered to Cork nursing home
Residents at a nursing home in Co Cork received some much-appreciated Easter treats from a local pharmaceutical company.
A special delivery of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and an assortment of Easter Eggs were delivered to Cramers Court Nursing Home in Belgooly, Kinsale from Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Community gardaí helped staff from Thermo Fisher Scientific, which is located in Currabinny, Carrigaline, bring the personal protective equipment and the chocolate treats to the staff and residents at the nursing home.
"We are delighted with this incredibly kind gesture. Thermo Fisher Scientific rallying behind Cramers Court by providing essential PPE and Easter Eggs was a tremendous show of community spirit and we thank them for it," said Teresa O'Donovan, activities coordinator.
An Post launch ‘Request a Check-In’ and a newspaper delivery service
- Steve Neville
An Post has announced the launch of two new services to support communities during the coronavirus crisis.
The postal service has launched ‘Request a Check-In’ and a newspaper delivery service.
An Post said the ‘Request a Check-In’ service is “a facility for family members to request a specific ‘An Post Check-In’ by the local postman or postwoman for an older or vulnerable person during the current ‘cocooning’ period.”
A statement said that family members can register for the service for free by completing the postal address and Eircode of the customer on their website.
Food banks delivering for those most in need
- Jess Casey
Colin Daly, deputy principal of the North Monastery Primary School in Cork, praised its teachers for helping to pack and distribute food to the school’s vulnerable students.
“They put themselves in harm’s way I suppose with this virus but you can really see it doesn’t bother them, it’s what needs to be done,” said Mr Daly.
“You’d kind of get a feel for some of the families who could struggle from this but I’ve never seen it as evident as this in the last couple of weeks.
“I feel as a school, it’s the least we can do, if they [healthcare workers] are putting themselves at risk. It’s the least we can do.”