20 Good Things That Happened In 2020

It's been a tough year full of bad news, but here are some bright spots that shone through the gloom.

Daniel O’Donnell serenading nursing home residents

Proving once again why he is a national treasure, Wee Daniel toured nursing homes in his native Donegal, singing from the car park to lift residents’ spirits in lockdown. Truly an angel on earth.

Jedward becoming the heroes of our time

Our beloved John and Edward Grimes took it upon themselves to speak truth to power this year, campaigning for trans rights, scolding anti-maskers, and surprising Twitter users with cute, uplifting DMs.

The incredible rescue of the Galway paddleboarders

It’s hard not to get emotional remembering how cousins Ellen Glynn and Sara Feeney were rescued fifteen hours after they were blown out to sea on their paddleboards. The pair managed to keep calm, tying their boards to lobster pots, until they were spotted by fisherman Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan. A miracle.

Irish Women in Harmony topping the charts

Forty female musicians came together to cover Dreams by The Cranberries, hitting number one on the charts, raising over €250k for domestic violence charity SAFE Ireland, and shutting up everyone still bleating ‘there just aren’t that many great Irish female artist’ as they did so. That’s what we call girl power.

The summer of Folklore

In July, Taylor Swift surprised everyone by dropping a folk-tinged album, Folklore, that captured that global mood and became an instant hit. But we really have been spoiled when it comes to music this year – snaps must also go to Dua Lipa, Cardi B, Fiona Apple, Lady Gaga, and now Ariana Grande for providing the soundtrack to lockdown. Hon the gals.

Everyone’s putting pen to paper again

2020 has seen a resurgence in many traditional activities – drive-in movies, baking, crafting and perhaps most sweetly, pen-pals. That’s real, in-and-paper letters sent with a stamp, people! An Post led the way with their lovely postcards earlier this year, and the recent decision to allow free postage to and from nursing homes.

An Offaly couple marry… 40 years after they first met

John Bermingham, 86, and Mary Long, 83, married in a small civil ceremony in Tullamore after 40 years of courtship – the pair had wanted to tie the knot for years, but had difficulty with paperwork. “It was beautiful,” Mary told RTE News. “We were happy out.” I’m not crying, there’s something in my eye…

The Den is back

After reuniting them for Comic Relief, RTE announced that Ray D’Arcy, Dustin The Turkey and Zig and Zag would be back for a weekend family show. Now we just need a new Dustin album and we’re all set

And Don Conroy launched a YouTube channel, teaching a new generation how to draw

What a legend. And yep, he still does a mean owl.


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A post shared by Don Conroy (@donconroyartist)

Feed the Heroes

The Feed the Heroes fund has raised over €1.4 million to feed the frontline working fighting Covid-19 in hospitals nationwide, with over 200,000 meals served. You can donate to ensure that medical staff working long hours get nutritious meals right here.

We discovered the beauty of our country

With travel restricted, we’ve had to reconnect with where we are right now – which actually works out fine, because where we are is incredibly beautiful. Whether you visited a part of the country you’d never been before, or discovered a new route around your neighbourhood, our own little country still has the power to surprise and delight us.

And have a new incentive to shop Irish

Shopping local has never been more important, and why would we go elsewhere when we have so many amazing businesses right here?

Normal People fever

The TV adaption of Sally Rooney’s bestseller gripped viewers across the world in April, sparking irate calls to Liveline, endless memes, and Instagram accounts dedicated to Connell’s chain. It also made stars of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Maynooth man Paul Mescal, who bagged himself an Emmy nomination.

Bingo in the flats

In March, the residents of a block of flats in Dublin got together for a massive game of bingo, standing out on their balconies to hear the numbers called out over a speaker. If that’s not innovation, we don’t know what is.

Offers to foster animals soared

According to Dogs Trust, over 700 offers came in over the month of March – normally, they’d get around 10. The trust also offers a foster care service for frontline working who aren’t able to look after their furry friends.


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A post shared by Dogs Trust Ireland (@dogstrust_ire)

Artists came into their own

From the Creatives Against Covid-19 prints to photographer Ruth Medjber’s ‘window portraits’ (collected in a book called Twilight Together, out now), Ireland’s artists have created some beautiful work during this strange time, and deserve all the support.

Stormzy premiered his new music video in a Dublin school

As a thank you for their work around the Black Lives Matter movement, Leaving Cert students at Pobalscoil Neasáin in Baldoyle were the first to see the video for Stormzy’s single Superheroes. “I think it’s important that you guys understand how powerful you are,” the rapper said in a video message to the class.

Matt Damon and his Supervalu bag

The megastar landed in Ireland to film The Last Diel right before the country went into lockdown for the first time, and found himself stranded in Dalkey for a good portion of the summer. There are worse places to be, right? He certainly made the most of it, pottering around the village and swimming at the Vico Baths (with his towels in the aforementioned bag for life).

The Hamilton movie brought the hit musical to the masses

We’d been singing the songs for years, but those of us who weren’t lucky enough to bag tickets were finally able to see the show in full when the Hamilton film landed on Disney+ earlier this year. Hold on while we watch it for the 50th time.

And acts of kindness were rampant

Look past the worries about people obeying the rules and you’ll see that we really are striving to be kinder to each other in this awful time – campaigning and fundraising for those less fortunate, helping our neighbours, randomly paying it forward at the local shop. Long may it continue.

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