This front page, published March 11, 2020, met some criticism at the time for causing some worry - Kilkenny had no confirmed cases then, but few could have had any idea of what was coming
A full year has now passed since the first lockdown arrived and changed all of our lives beyond recognition.
With the benefit of hindsight, some of the commentary from the time seems oddly optimistic now — no doubt due to how alien the new information was then. Close to the last minute, there was uncertainty over whether St Patrick’s Day parades and visits should proceed or not.
The Kilkenny People’s front page (Friday, March 13, 2020) warning of an imminent lockdown, met some criticism at the time. There had not yet been a confirmed case in Kilkenny, and the story reportedly upset some people. But it was not alarmist; the lockdown came, and more would follow.
March 2020 was the start of restrictions and curbs to our everyday lives that, at the time, seemed utterly unfathomable. It also saw the initial spread of the virus, and sadly, the loss of loved ones.
It was one year ago this day, March 17, when then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the nation, describing it as ‘a St Patrick’s Day like no other’. Children, he said, ‘will tell their own children and grandchildren about the national holiday in 2020 that had no parades or parties’.
Now, once again, we greet another March 17 where the ‘real life’ festivities cannot take place. Children will not need to be convinced of the outlandishness of this scenario; there are those for whom it will be their abiding early memory of St Patrick’s Day.
For many, missing another parade will seem a small setback after a year of enormous difficulty, however. And, our local festival committee along with Kilkenny County Council have done an excellent job in putting together an exciting virtual programme of events for us all to enjoy today.
The hope now is that some sense of normality is not far away. We have made it this far and for the most part, we have done it well. Everyone deserves to take some time today — our national holiday — to rest, reflect and celebrate Ireland and Irishness.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig shona daoibh.