Life Under Covid:
A visual record by PPAI 

Special images that capture the profound, the beautiful, the strange and the tragic events of the pandemic have been selected by the Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI) to be donated to the National Archive. The images, which will continue to be selected throughout the pandemic, will form a collection titled Life Under Covid to create a historic visual record of Ireland during the pandemic. The images, which will continue to be selected throughout the pandemic, will form a collection titled Life Under Covid to create a historic visual record of Ireland during the pandemic.


Liz Dunphy and Caitlín Griffin 

Hairy Times - Mark Condren: Brother's Ben and Aaron cut each others hair during lock down due to Covid-19

Images of life continuing

Interview with Mike McSweeney Vice President of the PPAI 

Mike McSweeney, Vice President of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland (PPAI), who originated the project, said: “The images are not just harrowing and traumatic, they’re images of life continuing. 

“The title of the collection is ‘Life under Covid’. It’s a story of life, not of death, it’s about the strength and beauty within people, within communities, within families and people helping each other through these circumstances. 

“And it's a record of people coming together. Particularly of frontline workers who have been under incredible stress facing a killer disease. While we as photographers wouldn’t have been exposed to anyway near the same level, we’ve been within those situations and have seen the pandemic first hand.

“Photographers have been at the very heart of almost everything that’s been going on. We’ve been documenting a piece of Irish history. And I thought that should be preserved.”

150 images were chosen by judges of the Press Photographers Association of Ireland 'Press Photographer of the Year Awards' 2021 from the award entries. 

Hundreds more images, which were not entered into the awards, have been added to the collection to shape an even broader visual record. More images will continue to be selected as the pandemic progresses. 


A MILLION TEARS - Clodagh Kilcoyne

Patrick Hand affixes crosses to the outdoor chapel of a thousand crosses and a million tears as at Balally Parish Church of the Ascension of the Lord. The outdoor chapel's wall of crosses has become a shrine and each cross represents a person in Ireland that has died from coronavirus and is added to daily.


Adam - Michael Chester

Adan King who was on the Late Late Toy Show with Ryan and who wanted to work for NASA. 


Alan and Penny - Julien Behal

Alan Prosser and his Yorkshire terrier Penny in front of one of the many murals that sprang up over town during the lockdown. 


Anti-Mask Protest - Leah Farrell

Anti-Mask protest turns violent on Day 1 of nationwide Level 5 lockdown as protestors are arrested by Gardai on Grafton street.


ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN 1972 - Justin Kernoghan

Anything Can Happen 1972 - Voices from the Heart of the Troubles at Derry Playhouse Theatre. Anne Walker holds a family portrait (brother Michael McDaid was killed in Bloody Sunday)No audience allowed because of the covid pandemic. Significant objects or photographs of loved ones lost during the Troubles or the pandemic filled the 150 seats


Backyard Boxing - Ryan Byrne

Grainne Walsh, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. Team Ireland Boxer Grainne Walsh training in her back garden


Behind the Mask - Lorraine Teevan

Teacher Clare Cumiskey talks to her student Lydia in third class at St. Marys National School, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan.


Foggy Semi-Final - James Crombie

GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Co. Dublin 6/12/2020Mayo vs TipperaryFog during the first half


Bungee Swim - Ramsey Cardy

Swimmer Mia Whelan-O'Connor of ESB Swimming Club swims in her back garden in an inflatable pool, in Inchicore, Dublin, using a swimming parachute and a bungee cord with the assistance of her Dad Michael and Mother Carol.


CMO - Steve Humphreys

Dr Tony Holohan Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Covid-19 Press Briefing.


CUH at the Frontline - Daragh McSweeney

Cork University Hospital, one of the busiest Covid hospitals in the country pictured rallying to cope with the Covid 19 Pandemic. In January 2021 Cork was notified as having second highest rate of Covid-19 in the country next to Dublin. In that month over 100 nurses were unable to work due to being a close contact or having Covid.


Covid Communion - Damien Eagers

Fr Bryan Shortall gives out communion to a parishioner at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Priorswood, Dublin.


History echoed


Interview with James Crombie of INPHO sports who captured 'Foggy Semi-Final'

history alone echoed loudly through a lonely Croke Park stadium as photographer James Crombie lay down on the ground to capture the vast emptiness surrounding what should have been one of the busiest games of the year. 

As Tipperary battled Mayo in the All-Ireland GAA semi-final in the dead of winter, there were no crowds to cheer or jeer, no family hollering for them from the sidelines. 

And there were no crowds to solemnly silence as Tipperary players laid a wreath for their fallen comrade Michael Hogan, who was shot dead there 100 years earlier on Bloody Sunday while playing football for Tipperary in November 1920. 

“It was an All-Ireland semi-final in December. That’s not a usual occurrence,” PPAI Photographer of the Year James Crombie said. 

“We’re usually playing them in August in blistering sunshine. But this year, and potentially next year, it was played in a cold, foggy, wet park in the start of December. 

“Tipperary were in the semi-final with Mayo. The fog was descending, it was eerie, the whole place was empty, there was no buzz. 

“The All-Ireland semi-final is probably one of the biggest fixtures of the year and to have no one there, just this vast emptiness was so bizarre. It must have been bizarre for the players. It was bizarre for the lucky few media who were allowed at it. 

“Usually, you’d be at Croke Park four hours early to park and that. There was none of that. You could park outside the front door and you wouldn’t even know there was a game going on.



Foggy Semi-Final - James Crombie. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Co. Dublin 6/12/2020 Mayo vs Tipperary Fog during the first half.


“Usually, when the teams take to the field there’s a buzz, you get it off the crowd, there’s fan engagement, their families are there. There was none of that. They took to the field to nothing – no sound, no rigmarole. 

“I was trying to tell that story in the picture. I lay down, I was trying for ages to get a shot just to show the vast emptiness. 

“Sometimes, the bigger picture, the wider image, is more important than the tight details, and that definitely was one of them.” 

Mr Crombie, was chosen as the Press Photographer’s Association of Ireland’s Photographer of the Year, despite, as a sports photographer, having attended very few fixtures in 2020. 

The pandemic gave him more space to create pictures, he said. 

Instead of flying to Tokyo for the Olympics, squeezing in the GAA All-Ireland around it, he settled into a more meditative pace in Ireland. 

Trekking around Lough Ennell for 60 nights allowed him to capture the now world-famous image of a murmuration of starlings flying in the shape of a giant bird that saw him interviewed on TV stations from Chicago to Dubai. 

“In a normal year, I wouldn’t be able to do that,” he said. “We’d have the Olympics in the middle of the year, the All-Ireland series, it would have been a manic year. But it was all gone. We just had to try to come up with stuff to do. 

“I didn’t have the pressure the news guys would have had to be at every Tony Holohan press briefing. I had a lot more time to make pictures. 

“But I hope everything gets back to normal soon, we get fans back in the grounds, because that’s what brings an atmosphere. Sports is so dependent on fans. The players thrive from that, the buzz they get from the crowd. And you can only keep going for so long without that.” 

Working through the pandemic has been both a privilege and a responsibility, he said. 

“We see what’s on TV but photographers can try to see things differently. We can try to portray it the way we see it, the way we experience it, for people. To

have the opportunity to do that is a great honour and one we don’t take lightly.”


Deep Clean - Dan Linehan

James Murphy-Stout of Sanitise Ireland giving a deep clean to Cork Penny Dinners which looks after anyone looking for a hot meal day or night in Cork City. 


Distance Dipping - Robbie Reynolds

Swimmers ready to take their daily dip line up respecting the advised personal distance at the Forty Foot, Sandycove, Co. Dublin.


Distance is temporary but love is forever - Aishling Conway

Antoinette Conway with her granddaughter Ella May Byrne during lockdown in March 2020.


Festival fashion - David Fitzgerald

Racegoers Maria Zherebtosova, right, and Yuan Li, both from London, ahead of racing on Day Two of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England.


First Frontline Fatality - Michael O'Neill

Doctor Syed Waqqar Ali’s wife and family members grieve over his graveside.Dr. Waqqar who died after contracting Covid-19 and spending three months in ICU at the Mater hospital where he also worked.


From A Distance - John Kelly

A view of the scene in Cusack park on Monday evening when Clare GAA held a meeting with delegates sitting in the stand and the officials sat on a truck in the field.


Front Line Heroes - David Conachy

One hectic day with medical teams of the Mater Hospital in Dublin battling Covid-19 on the frontline


Good by Grandad - The Reality - Mark Condren

An undertaker supervise's the digging of a grave during the Covid19 pandemic.


Hairy Times - Mark Condren

Brother's Ben and Aaron cut each others hair during lock down due to Covid-19.


He is Risen - James Crombie

Roscommon Senior Football Championship Semi-Final, Dr. Hyde Park, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon 6/9/2020 St. Brigid's vs Boyle. A fan watches the game from outside the ground


He's making a screen, he's checking it twice - Dan Linehan

Sisters, Emily, Kate and Meabh Lyons got to meet Santa Claus who was keeping to the COVID-19 regulations by staying behind this perspex screen at the Mills, Baile Mhúirne,


Hope is here - Marc O'Sullivan

79 year old Annie Lynch is the first person in Ireland to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Ireland at St James’s Hospital in Dublin 8.


The magic of a pandemic Christmas 


Interview with Dan Linehan of Irish Examiner who captured 'He's making a screen, he's checking it twice'

neither perspex screens nor Covid-19 could mask the magic of Christmas at Santa’s Grotto last December, where excited children had eyes only for the Red-Suited One. 

“The kids were oblivious to everything, they were only interested in Santa,” photographer Dan Linehan said of his photo at the Mills, Baile Mhúirne, Cork. 

Sisters Emily, Kate and Meabh Lyons met Santa Claus, who was keeping to the Covid regulations by staying behind a perspex screen. 

But the Irish Examiner photographer said Covid restrictions had little impact on the girls’ enjoyment of the day. 

“I think Christmas is magical for children,” Mr Linehan said. 

“That picture goes to show that Santa still made it for them, whether the pandemic was there or not. 

“It was different for the adults, they had to erect screens, put on masks, but for the children I think it was their piece of magic on a Saturday morning. 

“You can see it in the kids’ eyes when you look at the photo.” 

Remembering that day, Mr Linehan said: “The room was incredible but the kids were only interested in Santa Claus. Looking at them in the photograph – they don’t even notice that I’m there even though I’m only a couple of feet away from them.



He's making a screen, he's checking it twice - Dan Linehan. Sisters, Emily, Kate and Meabh Lyons got to meet Santa Claus who was keeping to the COVID-19 regulations by staying behind this perspex screen at the Mills, Baile Mhúirne


“The unusual things about that photograph is that there’s perspex glass between Santa Claus and the kids but it never bothered them. I don’t think they minded. For kids, it doesn’t make any difference. After they got a present they went out the door quite happy. It was lovely.” 

Mr Linehan said he took the photo on a 14mm wide-angle lens. It was shot at 1/25s (shutter speed) and F8 (aperture) at 1000 ISO.

Having his photograph included in the National Archives to document our strange recent history was an honour, he said, as was working as a press photographer throughout the pandemic, seeing so much change in the country. 

“We’ve taken a lot of the photos through the windows in people’s houses,” he said. 

“I haven’t been into a house on a job since last March. That’s unusual. Usually people would ask you into their house. 

“Even going into schools now, the kids are playing outside. 

“And you have to be careful, make sure your mask is on and you’re sanitising when you’re working with people. 

“We’ve gone through an awful lot of phases with the pandemic. 

“At the start, when there was total lockdown, it felt really, really unusual driving on totally empty streets, going into town in the evening and not seeing one car. And at the start, our emphasis was totally different. You had the guards out on the streets, the Garda checkpoints. 

“And you’d take photos of people in masks at the start, that was a very unusual picture because you might only see two people in 100 wearing a mask. Now it’s very commonplace. 

“But to have been out working and meeting people throughout this pandemic has been fortunate,” he said.


Life and Death - Brendan Moran

The East Kerry team take a breather at half time next to the local graveyard during the Kerry County Senior Football Championship Round 1 match between Feale Rangers and East Kerry at Frank Sheehy Park in Listowel, Kerry.


Lockdown Leap - Sam Barnes

Irish Long Jump athlete Shane Howard of Bandon AC, Cork, during a training session at the family farm in Rathcormac, Cork, while adhering to the guidelines of social distancing set down by the Health Service Executive. Following directives from the Irish Government and the Department of Health the majority of the country's sporting associations have suspended all organised sporting activity in an effort to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result of these restrictions, Shane is unable to travel to his usual training facility at CIT.


Love Conquers Covid - Eoin Noonan

Family and neighbours watch the ceremony of Terence Lenihan and Tara Leguilloux during their COVID-19 wedding at their home in Donnybrook, Cork. Many events and large gatherings have been postponed under the Irish Government’s Roadmap for Reopening of Ireland's economy, soicial gatherings may take place with up to 6 people from outside your household, following strict protocols of social distancing and hand sanitisation among other measures. Following the suspension of all social activities which have been prohibited since March due to the Irish Government's efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Loving Embrace - Julien Behal

Hamilton Park Nursing Home in Balbriggan has partnered with Health Passport Europe to facilitate the safest possible Christmas visits between residents and family members. The nursing home worked with the innovative Health Passport Europe digital platform, combined onsite COVID-19 testing, which is facilitated by diagnostics firm, Sure Rapid Testing. Visitor access to the nursing home is controlled through the Health Passport Europe app making it one of the safest and low risk environments. Picture shows 98 yr old resident Eddie Burtenshaw with his wife of 70 years Gladys Burtenshaw (95) embracing for the first time in 10 months having previously only seen each other through perspex partition.


Mask Merchant - Justin Kernoghan

A shopkeeper wearing a clown facemask promoting his pandemic designer masks to passersby in a city centre shop window.


Masking A Problem - Paul Sherwood

discarded facemasks during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 pictured on the ground in various locations around County Dublin.


Moment of Prayer - Brendan Moran

Ireland celebrated the diversity of its country with 200 Irish-Muslims gathering in Dublin to mark Eid Al Adha on 31st July. Eid-ul-Adha or the 'feast of the sacrifice' is the most important celebration in Islam and is celebrated at the end of Hajj, which is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The Eid prayer took place at Croke Park to mark one of the most important days in the Islamic calendar. The celebration was one of the first public gatherings of its kind held in Ireland since last March and was attended by representatives of the Government, ambassadors, as well as Christian, Jewish, and other faith leaders.


Moving on up - Larry Cummins

Thirty of the sixth class pupils attended the school separately during Thursday morning to receive a gift pack and speak with staff of the school. 6th class pupil Lukas Murphy gets clapped out by (left) teachers Breda Ringrose, class teacher Elaine Linehan, Maureen Ahern, Deputy Principal and Finbarr Hurley, Principal at Greenmount NS sixth class graduations. An online event will take place on Friday.Covid-19 coronavirus social distancing event.


Nature Comes Back - Leon Farrell

Dublin City busiest fashionable street, Grafton Street has grass grow on it as Ireland is into the 6th week of Lockdown Photograph


Nothing's normal now - Brian Lawless

A person wearing a face mask on a bus in Dublin as the Government were to step up the campaign to show the public how to wear face masks properly.


Outside Looking in - James Crombie

Fans get resourceful to watch GAA matches as they continued behind closed doors or with limited numbers due to Covid 19 Restrictions. Photograph



Santa pictured in the Bridge Diner with Ethan Ledden aged 6 and his father Derek Ledden.


Personal Space - Alan Betson

Visitors to the Royal Hospital Kilmainhan on the front lawn of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, within socially distant painted circles complying with Coronavirus Covid 19 precautions


Pope Mobile - Arthur Carron

Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Boher in Cooley Co Louth travelling on the Pope Mobile used by Pope John Paul II, visiting his the people of his parish to give blessings on Holy Thursday because they can't visit church due to the Covid-19 crisis. Pictured recieving his blessing is Malcolm Thornton.


A divided nation


Interview with Leah Farrell of Rolling News who captured 'A Divided Nation'

a “divided nation” is what Leah Farrell witnessed at an anti-mask protest on Grafton Street, as she prepared to stay on guard while immersing herself in what she described as a “volatile situation”. 

“As the day progressed, I could sense the tension rising between the protesters and the gardaí, with a risk of violence erupting. I started to prepare myself for the possibility that things may take a bad turn so I was conscious of staying safe in a volatile situation. 

“As a photojournalist, when something happens your adrenaline kicks in and all you think about is capturing the image. You also have to decide which lens to use, so you need to have quick reactions because you don't have much time to react before it's all over.” 

Using a Canon 5D mark IV with a 16-35mm Canon lens, Ms Farrell described how she was able to switch into work mode while being in the middle of a violent conflict between gardaí and protestors. 

“When something like this happens, you just go into work mode but this time was different because I had to try and be as safe as possible but also get some good images as I was surrounded by protesters being arrested and gardaí with batons. 

“In situations like this, reaction is key. In my line of work, every job is different, but you always need to expect the unexpected and be prepared for anything,” she said. 

Ms Farrell said her action-packed shot is striking for many reasons, because there is so much happening within a single frame.


Anti-Mask Protest - Leah Farrell: Anti-Mask protest turns violent on Day 1 of nationwide Level 5 lockdown as protestors are arrested by Gardai on Grafton street.


“Gardaí using their batons but in different stages of contact, a protester falling on his knees while others behind him try to make their way through the Garda lines – all these striking conflicts occurring in one shot. 

“However, what struck me most about the day was how divided we are as a nation, in what is probably one of the most difficult situations we have had to go through in our lifetime whereas instead, we should all come together to fight this pandemic.” 

Once restrictions ease, Ms Farrell is looking forward to not having to put herself at risk while she works and is eager to socialise with her colleagues again. 

“Working solo as a photographer, the social aspect can be lacking and sometimes the days are lonely.

“My safety has been another natural concern as this job was an anti-mask protest, so I was putting myself and the people closest to me at risk. In addition, this protest turned violent so I was in a difficult situation whereby I had to capture the picture but I was also trying to maintain my distance. 

“I look forward to being able to communicate properly with clients again without the necessity of masks and social distancing. I can’t wait to be able to photograph music festivals and other public events again.”


Return of Play - Sam Barnes

Paddy Kirk has his temperature taken by Aaron Fitzsimons, Equipment Manager, as his team-mates wait in line, ahead of a Bohemian FC training session at Dalymount Park in Dublin. On March 12 2020, the FAI announced the cessation of all football under their jurisdiction upon directives from the Irish Government, the Department of Health and UEFA, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Saying Goobye - David Conachy

the sad reality of not being able to say goodbye to a loved one. This, the funeral of John Gallagher who died of Covid-19, his family had to isolate and watch through a live stream link.


Shine Your Light - Eamon Ward

Residents of Hermitage, Ennis , Co Clare shine their light for front line workers at 9.00pm on April 11th.


So Near, Yet so Far - Domnick Walsh

Sean Foley, a client at Oaklodge Nursing Home, Cloyne, Co Cork is visited by his wife Betty during Lockdown.


Solitary Sunbathers - Julien Behal

During the lockdown especially in the earlier months the weather in Ireland was fantastic. People desperate to sunbath but afraid and anxious to be near people sometimes choose unorthodox looking spots to lay down in. The solitary sunbather.


Suburban Lockdown - Kenneth O'Halloran

Suburban Lockdown. Photograph: Kenneth O'Halloran


Teaching 12 hours a Day on line as Schools are Closed - Dominic Walsh

School teacher Will Nolan from Tralee sets up a classroom from his home . The graphics, coding and construction teacher at Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk Tralee Co Kerry. Will has set up a classroom in his house for his students . He has now opened up his class to all students from the County as he feels their is a urgent need of teachers teaching on line . Will also has a Technology Degree and Masters in Computer Science in Educational technologies.


The Covid Squad - Niall Carson

Picture converted into Black and White from Colour Members of the PSNI Covid-19 Unit at Musgrave Street custody suite in Belfast. PA Media was given exclusive first access to the Covid-19 block to witness how the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has adapted to the challenges of custody in a pandemic. 


The First Sups - Laura Hutton

Owner Finn MacDonnell chats with Seamus O Grifín as he enjoys his first pint in Dick Mack's pub in Dingle Co Kerry as 'wet' pubs reopen outside Dublin after the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were imposed in March.


The Race Against Covid - Gerry Mooney

Civil Defence volunteers Lar Griffin, James Turner and Lloyd Whelan who volunteered to transport patients for testing in the fight against Covid-19.


Two Metres - Gary Ashe

The familiar 2 metre social distancing sign at the entrance to Stephen's Green,Dublin


Black Lives Matter - Brian Lawless

People attend a Black Lives Matter rally, outside the US Embassy in Dublin, in memory of George Floyd who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, USA. The death of Mr. Floyd sparked global protests calling for justice and systemic change to end police brutality and all forms of racism.

Irish Examiner Longread

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