How are Irish children coping with lockdown? Five of them tell us about their lives
When my mum told me the weekend after the schools closed that we probably wouldnt be going back until September, I burst into tears. I hadnt been able to say goodbye to my friends in St Patricks Cathedral Choir School on the Thursday, as I had been attending an entrance exam for secondary school.
Thankfully, after the first week at home I began to realise it wasnt all that bad. Its quite nice being close to the fridge and all the food!
Im in lockdown with my mum, my cat, Buttons, and my dog, Clara. Buttons has to stay inside, which at first he wasnt too happy with, but Clara seems to be quite happy to be able to chase her cat around the house all day.
Im enjoying not having to go out anywhere and having infinite pyjama days. I also like not having to do homework after school hours. I try to keep up with schoolwork but at the same time I learn what I want to learn, how I want to learn it.
I like learning online with my friends and keeping in touch with them through technology. It must be hard for kids who dont have laptops to stay in touch with their friends and their schoolwork. Im doing free online courses on the website Future Learn, which helps a lot.
Most of all I like doing art and music, and learning about cats. Im not too worried about Covid-19, as long as we stay inside and take extra precautions it should all be fine. When I do worry, I know I can talk to my mum about it, or watch Buttons for comfort.
At the same time, I think its important to be slightly worried, so were prepared for the worst. My mum is coping with it well, by having nice vegan food deliveries and keeping it together. Weve ordered fabric to sew masks and make them for other people, but the best way to help others is to stay indoors.
Ryan Mpofu (14), who is in lockdown in Mosney Direct Provision Centre in Co Meath
I am in lockdown with my mum and my three siblings, Dominic (17), Leah (6) and Luna (2). I am finding this situation very challenging. Studying at home is difficult. I really miss having a teacher to guide me through, especially subjects like Irish.
I am from Zimbabwe and our Irish teacher at St Olivers Community College, Co Louth, was always very helpful, explaining the things I didnt understand.
Its all much harder now. My schoolwork is very important to me. I want to get a good education so that I can have a better life for me and for my family. I want to be a lawyer or maybe a teacher. So it is frustrating when school assignments come in and I dont have a printer to print it out, or the internet connection is down. We have terrible internet in the centre. I dont have a laptop so I have to rely on the internet on my mums phone.
Even when the connection is okay I find I can get easily distracted playing games or watching videos on social media. Sometimes I find I am up very late, until three or four in the morning trying to do my work. I am finding it all very stressful to be honest.
I miss a lot of stuff. I miss going to church, spending time with my schoolmates. I miss the fun times at training, in the school gym or playing Gaelic.
I am worried about the virus coming into the centre, some people here still do not listen to the law. You find out people are still going around in groups. Some of our parents have different types of diseases so for them theres a high risk of them getting it.
I dont really go out much at all, except to take out the bins.
Eve Cullen (9) who is in lockdown in her home in Thurles, Co Tipperary
When the school principal told us we were going to have no school for at least two weeks, everyone in fourth class in Scoil Angela in Thurles cheered. That seems like a very long time ago now.
Some of the people in my estate are really old and live on their own, so I wrote them letters. I thought theyd like to know that someone had their back.
My dad got a lot of calls to say thank you (I put his number on the letter), and a few people wrote to me to say it was good to know I was there. One of them was in hospital, but they still wrote and sent me stamps, so Ive written a few more letters to my friends.
I miss getting to go places anywhere. And I miss my friends all of them.
I dont miss school, because dad has made us do lots of schoolwork. I think I did less in school. But at least when I take a break I can watch telly and play the Nintendo Switch (which my sister brought home from London).
In my house theres my dog Roxie, my cat Echo, Mum, Dad, and my two older sisters, Katie and Ellen. Mum was working in a shop, but its closed now. Dad works from home.
Katie was in London, but came back here to Tipperary a few days ago, which means Ellen has moved back into my room. So I dont have my own bedroom any more, which Im not happy about.
While we are stuck in the house, Ive got to do some things I like more often. I love cooking, so Ive been making anything where I have to crack eggs (I love cracking eggs).
My favourite at the moment is a cloud egg, which I made with Mum. Its really easy, but fun. You separate the yolk from the white. Whisk the white until its fluffy. Make a hole in the middle and heat it (180 degrees for five minutes). Then you put the yolk into the hole and back into the oven for another few minutes. Then, enjoy. It tastes the same as a normal egg, but looks way cooler.
I have been on my bicycle a lot lately. Even when its cold outside. I fell off one day and scraped my leg. It was only a little bit sore, but I was shaking for ages. I realised that if I hurt myself more I would have had to go to the doctor, or even the hospital. Which was scary. But I was fine.
Ellen and I also do the Joe Wicks exercises on YouTube, but I dont really like it. I do like to walk Roxie.
Dad says the rules mean I have to stay the length of our kitchen table away from others when we go for a walk or cycle. But its only for people outside our house, not my sisters.
Sometimes, I wish it was the other way around.
Jodi Nic Eoin (13) at home in Tallaght, Dublin
Im on lockdown with my dog Nellie and my mam. The best things about lockdown life are getting to spend some quality time with my mam, having more time to read and to practise more baking recipes.
I just recently finished The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, and Ive made some very tasty lemon cupcakes.
The worst things about this crisis are the lack of routine, not being able to see my family or friends and of course the worry and stress of the situation.
The thing that scares me is the possibility of a family member getting sick. When I am scared or worried I cope by trying to distract myself with reading or schoolwork. What Im missing most now that I have a break from schoolwork because of the Easter holidays is something to do, being stuck inside seems to make everything boring.
I think my mam is dealing with the crisis really well by not panicking and by making sure that Im still eating well and being as active as possible. My schoolwork is going well, but its hard without the teacher there to explain.
My dream afternoon when this is all over would be a big gathering with all my family having a meal together.
Tomás Griffin (17) in his bedroom at home in Tullamore, Co Offaly
Im on lockdown with my parents. All my siblings are living elsewhere in Ireland. I dont like the uncertainty we are all facing, especially given that I am in sixth year in school. Aside from not knowing what will happen with exams, I also feel I am missing out on my last chances to spend so much time with certain people. Cabin fever has set in, and limited social interaction is also tough.
One of my parents is relatively high-risk so that is definitely a concern as well as my granny who lives alone. However, were all taking the right measures to stay safe so this isnt a major issue.
I am mostly worried about the economic situation that will face us in the aftermath, as it looks like I will be going to college and graduating into another major recession.
I use different things to stay calm and keep anxiety at bay. I read (fiction, non-virus related) and exercise daily and do my best to talk to people other than the people Im in lockdown with over the phone at least every other day.
Im missing the gym quite a lot as it was an important social outlet for me as well as giving me time to myself and non-academic goals to focus on. For the most part, I miss the otherwise small and spontaneous interactions with people, chatting with strangers or sharing a laugh or a quick few words with people in school. Im normally quite social and a tactile person, so interacting face to face with people is probably what I miss the most.
Youth mental health charity Jigsaw offers a suite of free professional support, services and advice, including Covid-19 related content, for young people, their families and teachers. For more see www.jigsawonline.ie.
The Irish Times is running a new isolation art competition for children. For more details, see the Magazine, or go to irishtimes.com/artcompetition