It’s a year since health authorities confirmed the first case of Covid-19 in the Republic.
In the following 12 months, our worlds have been turned upside down.
More than 4,000 people — mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters — died from the infectious disease, and we’ve been bounced from lockdown to lockdown.
With hope on the horizon from the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines,
and a student about a year that no one will ever forget.
Katie is @katiekavphoto on Instagram
William O'Callaghan has had a front row seat to our shopping habits these past 12 months, as a delivery driver for DPD Ireland. While it's been mostly clothes and home improvements parcels we're ordering, most people are just happy to see a real human face over the course of their day.
“It was fairly daunting at the start of the pandemic. Customers who we knew for a long time were very nervous, but in fairness to the lads above, they put in guidelines for contactless deliveries, so there was no handing over of a scanner.
"The customers then felt at ease, and I felt at ease too. Because at the start, even if you went in someone's gate, they'd want you to stay out. And I know 99% of my customers.
While work has always been busy, figures have almost tripled on all routes. And the ability to get people their parcels has been very satisfying.
“People are extremely grateful at the door and very kind. I was inundated with Christmas cards, I've been with the company nine years and it was overwhelming this year. Even during the pandemic, they could give you vouchers for coffee, the acts of kindness were overwhelming.
“The stand out moments were when you could actually deliver the parcels, when you could see people's faces.
“I have delivered bags of kindle for the fire, inflatable swimming pools and the satisfaction you'd get hearing: 'That'll keep the kids quiet for another week'. Not once did I regret working on the frontline.
“I remember the first one, in March, April and May and the weather was so good, people could do nothing else only do up their houses and gardens. I was delivering a lot of gardening stuff, an awful lot of clothes - tracksuits mostly, because people could only go for walks.” Given the volume of business, William was dreading Christmas.
“Christmas was actually fine, it's always our peak, and you're always geared up - you know you're going to be under pressure never mind in a pandemic. We were dreading it this year, the way these two guys organised it, Gary Murphy and Ken Duffy, in Little Island, it went off without a hitch, and it was the busiest Christmas we ever had.
“January was still busy, a lot of people were just glad to see someone that month. A lot of people are working from home, they're delighted to see a face at the door, they might tell you the same story and you say: 'oh yeah', as if you didn't hear it before.
“The loneliest people I saw were people who had to work from home, but 99.9% of them were in good spirits.
“Before the pandemic, I was just delivering parcels to houses, that was it, now I feel that bit more important. Even to be considered a frontline worker, I was delighted, I felt appreciated. I find sometimes things like this happen, it does bring out the best in people - that togetherness."