St. Patrick's Day and social distancing: how are people celebrating?

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By Seana Davis
St. Patrick's Day and social distancing: how are people celebrating?
Copyright  (LEFT) Taken by Ciara Conway of Austin and (RIGHT) taken by Sarah of Darragh and Stephen.

He may have banned the snakes from Ireland centuries ago, but Saint Patrick's battle with COVID-19 has just begun.

On March 9th, the Irish government announced that St. Patrick's Day celebrations would be cancelled across the country. Since then, numerous measures have been taken to slow the coronavirus pandemic - from the closure of pubs to the banning of mass gatherings.

Gatherings around the globe have been hit, with landmarks still turning green for the occasion.

Ireland's public broadcaster RTE launched the 'RTE Virtual Parade' challenge, calling on people to share their celebrations amid social distancing via social media.

There have been numerous hashtags used to show the celebrations, #RTEVirtualParade, #TwitterParade and #StayHomeChallenge among the most commonly used.

From dancing, to at-home parades, people across the country have been sharing their take on St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

It comes after healthcare professionals have been urging strict social distancing in the Republic of Ireland, with the number of COVID-19 cases standing at 223 at the time of writing, and rising.

Social media has become a medium for people to raise awareness of health professional advice.

On Twitter, Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called for solidarity.

"This year, solidarity with all our friends across the globe - tough days ahead for so many countries. I’ve never seen such unity of purpose in Ireland, proud of who we are," he said.

Although this is a St. Patrick's Day different to what has ever been experienced, many are still donning the green, white and gold, albeit in smaller congregations, happy to show that the patron saint's legacy in culture and storytelling has not dwindled at all.