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Covid-19 in 2020

Covid -19 in 2020 is the title of a book of essays as Gaeilge focussing on the experience of people living through the pandemic that changed the world this year.

The book is co-edited by Frank Brady SJ and former Coláiste Iognáid principal Bernie O’Connell and was launched via Zoom on Thursday 3 December 2020. Kerry GAA star and broadcaster Dara Ó Cinnéide started off proceedings on foot of Peadar O’Riarda’s welcoming piano music. Many of the contributors took part in the event and all had some important reflections to share about the book and their contribution to it.  They spoke about the impact Covid-19 had made on their lives and the wider implications of the virus for Ireland and the world.

Read below an article on the book by Bernie O’Connell, first published in The Galway Advertiser.

Reflecting on Covid-19 in Irish

Galway writers are strongly represented in a new book outlining the experiences of twenty-five people during this pandemic year. The book, ‘Covid 19 in 2020’ is co-edited by Fr Frank Brady SJ and former Coláiste Iognáid principal Bernie O’Connell. Included in the Galwegian perspectives are Bishop Fiontán Ó Monacháin, Bish teacher Isbéal Nic Aoidh, former Highfield resident, currently working in the United Nations ,Michael Tierney and the Galway based Mindfulness teacher Katie McGreal. Gaillimh le Gaeilge’s CEO ,Bríd Ní Chonghóile ,records how the organisation dealt with the changing world.

Tá guthanna láidre as Conamara le fáil sa leabhar. Tugann Gearóidín Nic an Iomaire Ceannaire Spóirt ar Raidió na Gaeltachta cur síos cuimsitheach ar conas ar éirigh leis an raidió freastal ar an bpobal le linn na paindéime. Léiríonn Príomhoide Scoil Náisiúnta Bhriocáin ar an nGort Mór,Michaél Ó Máille, nach í an bhliain seo amháin go mb’éigin don bhunscoil thiar dúnadh síos. Tugann Stiofán Ó Braonáin ,as Sruthán ar an gCeathrú Rua , cur síos ar conas a ndeachaigh an Covid i bhfeidhm ar Ghaeil Boston.

The contribution of young Inis Mór writer Marc Ó Goill will resonate with many. Life on Aran for the then Leaving Cert student was particularly awkward. Marc is well known in Galway United circles for his unstinting passion for the club ( something he shares with one of the book’s editors). Fr Seán Ó Conaola from Casla has worked for many years in Korea as a Columban missionary and his article reflects life in that country.

Fr Frank Brady SJ is a former Jes pupil and taught in the school in the seventies. His working life was spent as a drug addiction counsellor in Dublin’s inner city before serving alongside Peter McVerry SJ in Ballymun. He currently works as editor of An Timire and is a chaplain in Maghaberry prison. Bernie O’ Connell is Vice President of Galway United Football Club.

There are twenty five different articles in the book. The editors believed that it was important that the Covid year be reflected in a leabhar Gaeilge. Launching the book last week Kerry GAA star and broadcaster Dara Ó Cinnéide stated that the book would become an important record for people of how people coped with their experience. Whilst many of the writers like musician Peadar Ó Riada, journalists Pól Ó Muirí and Deaglán de Bréadúin , poet Aifric Mac Aodha are well known to the public, ‘Covid 19 in 2020‘ gives a platform to others who haven’t written publicly previously.

The experience of frontline workers guards, doctors and dentists are outlined in the work. The world of Irish people away from home is also present. There is some deep reflection on spiritual matters. Bishop Monahan asks in his piece where God is in all this? The deeply personal account of the year by young Donegal priest an tAth Brian Ó Fearraigh ends with the immortal phrase ‘biseochaidh rudaí’.

‘ Ba mhór an onóir a bheith páirteach sa togra seo ‘ a dúirt Bernie Ó Conaill.’ D’éirigh linn an dea thoil a bhí ag na húdair a chuir os comhair an saol mór. Is taifead luachmhar í ar an mbliain agus na bealaí éagsúla gur éirigh le daoine teacht tríd an uafáis. Tá an saol faoi chomaoin acu siúd a bhí i dtús an chatha, cuimhníonn muid leis orthu siúd a cailleadh agus a muintir atá fós ag fulaingt ach tá ríméad orainn go néiríonn linn an spiorad , mothucháin agus an léargas agus fís ag daoine tríd an mblian a léiriú chomh maith.‘

The book is produced by Foilseacháin Ábhar Spioradálta and is available in local bookshops.