As social distancing restrictions continue, two couples share two very different experiences of the continuing lockdown rules
FORMER Miss Ireland Aoife O’Sullivan had to make do with a virtual birthday celebration last week with her Cork footballer boyfriend Colm Spillane.
Aoife from Ballinadee, and Colm from Fermoy are one of countless couples who have been separated, not because they had a falling-out, but because of Covid-19.
Aoife teaches first and second class in Minane Bridge and Colm is a secondary school teacher of PE and Maths in St Coleman’s College in Fermoy.
The pair have been in a relationship for nearly three years and live 70kms apart, with their respective families.
That wasn’t a problem until Covid-19 restrictions hit, as Aoife explained.
‘We usually meet twice a week. Once midweek, in the city, which is almost exactly the half way point between us. I work with different brands there and Colm would be training in Pairc Uí Chaoimh so we would meet for food, or to go to the cinema afterwards. Then at the weekends, I would go to his homeplace or him to mine for the weekend, depending on matches or training,’ she said.
Now in week five of travel restrictions, the duo are relying on technology to stay in touch.
‘We have been using Houseparty every second day. It’s a video-chat app. It was my birthday last week so we had a little virtual party and toasted a drink to the camera!’ said Aoife.
She is obviously missing her boyfriend, but realises it’s all part of something bigger.
‘The routine of doing something nice mid-week, like going for food or a cinema date, is something I always look forward to and it’s hard when you don’t know when that will be again. It is a very uncertain times. We would both be on Easter holidays now and had planned a few days away, but that will just have to postponed for the time-being. While it is difficult, we are both very lucky and grateful to be with our families who are healthy and that is what is of utmost importance right now. There are lots of couples in this situation who may not have family support. I think we all will have a greater appreciation for the time we spend with our loved ones when this is all over,’ she said.
They are looking forward to celebrating their third anniversary together – when they can.
‘I have so many plans. I can’t wait to be back to normality and to have quality time together, even though if all sport returns, they will be very busy trying to get games played off, so I don’t know how much of this we will get either. Either way, it will be a very exciting time and we will have a greater appreciation for each other’s company.’
Happy to be together – in quarantine
ONE couple have had the opposite scenario to most imposed on them due to Covid-19 – having to quarantine together, thanks to their new arrival.
Dr Brendan O’Connell, a GP in Dunmanway, and his wife Becky, welcomed their first baby early on Thursday, March 26th, the day before the country went into lockdown.
Brendan dropped Becky to CUMH that Tuesday for an induction. He explained how a tent was set up outside the hospital where he dropped her bag, because he wasn’t permitted in the hospital.
‘I went home because I figured we’d have a bit of time, but at the same time Dunmanway is still a distance from the hospital, so I came back on Wednesday and waited in the Tesco car park from 8am until I got the call to come in around 10.30pm that night,’ he said. He passed the time watching Star Wars on Disney Plus!
Baby Isabelle was born at 12.20am and the family were home by the afternoon of the following day, which is a quicker discharge than usual, due to the current situation.
‘We didn’t get any official advice, but we have been self-quarantining since then,’ said the GP.
The situation is made even more difficult as Isabelle is the very first grandchild on both sides of the family.
Brendan’s parents – his father Jack who is also a GP in the town and his mother Miriam is a nurse in Dunmanway hospital – have had to make do with seeing Isabelle through the window.
Becky is from the village of Hospital in Co Limerick, and her family are being kept up-to-date with video messages for now, until a family celebration can be enjoyed.
Brendan is back at work, but says people are being very responsible, with as much work as possible being handled by phone or video consultations.