In Pictures: Sporting heroes and wandering walrus bring cheer to Ireland in 2021

·2-min read
Eighteen-month-old Grace Wang dressed up to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on O’Connell Street in Dublin on March 17 2021 (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)
Eighteen-month-old Grace Wang dressed up to celebrate St Patrick’s Day on O’Connell Street in Dublin on March 17 2021 (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)

Coronavirus continued to cast its shadow over Ireland in 2021, but the year brought uplifting moments too, including Olympic triumphs and the sighting of a walrus off the Atlantic coast by a five-year-old girl.

Ireland started 2021 under Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions, which were eased later in the year before rising cases brought fresh measures in November.

A sign outside the Academy music venue in Dublin city centre (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Wire)
A sign outside the Academy music venue in Dublin city centre (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Wire)

Away from Covid, the year began with heavy rain and gales as Storm Christoph moved in.

A car makes it way along a flooded road beneath a railway bridge in Bettystown, Co Meath (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)
A car makes it way along a flooded road beneath a railway bridge in Bettystown, Co Meath (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)

January also saw Joe Biden’s links with Ireland celebrated as he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

Doctor Catherine Hallahan with an American flag at her family’s hairdressers in Ballina, Co Mayo, to mark Joe Biden’s inauguration – Mr Biden has ancestral links to the area on the west coast of Ireland, as well as on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)
Doctor Catherine Hallahan with an American flag at her family’s hairdressers in Ballina, Co Mayo, to mark Joe Biden’s inauguration – Mr Biden has ancestral links to the area on the west coast of Ireland, as well as on the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)

A wintry chill was felt in February, bringing ice, snow and cold winds.

Sheep in the snow at Glenasmole, Co Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)
Sheep in the snow at Glenasmole, Co Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)

Flooding hit parts of Ireland later in the month.

A man stops to take a picture of floodwater at the Bishop Casey Memorial Park in Mallow, Co Cork, after the River Blackwater burst its banks (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)
A man stops to take a picture of floodwater at the Bishop Casey Memorial Park in Mallow, Co Cork, after the River Blackwater burst its banks (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Archive)

March brought some cheer, as a walrus thought to have drifted over to Ireland from the Arctic was spotted by five-year-old Muireann Houlihan.

Five-year-old Muireann Houlihan with the walrus she spotted along the coast of Valentia Island, Co Kerry (Alan Houlihan/PA) (PA Media)
Five-year-old Muireann Houlihan with the walrus she spotted along the coast of Valentia Island, Co Kerry (Alan Houlihan/PA) (PA Media)

The annual St Patrick’s Day festivities brought colour to the streets – alongside the social distancing.

People celebrate St Patrick’s Day on O’Connell Street in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)
People celebrate St Patrick’s Day on O’Connell Street in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)

Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore became the first female winner of the Grand National in April, having become the first woman to win Cheltenham’s Champion Hurdle the month before.

Jockey Rachael Blackmore receives the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase trophy after winning on Minella Times at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)
Jockey Rachael Blackmore receives the Randox Grand National Handicap Chase trophy after winning on Minella Times at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)

June saw protesters descend on Dublin to demand a 100% redress scheme for homes and properties affected by bricks contaminated with mica.

Protesters during a demonstration in Dublin over the mica scandal (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
Protesters during a demonstration in Dublin over the mica scandal (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

Fans of James Joyce celebrated the life of the Irish writer on Bloomsday, which is observed annually on June 16, the day Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses takes place in 1904.

People celebrating Bloomsday in Duke Street, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
People celebrating Bloomsday in Duke Street, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

In June, fishermen from around the Irish coast gathered in Dublin to protest over cuts to quotas, the impact of Brexit and the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

Trawlers gather outside the Convention Centre in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
Trawlers gather outside the Convention Centre in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

The annual National Day of Commemoration, which remembers all Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations, was marked at Collins Barracks in Dublin.

The event in July also marked the 100th anniversary of the truce in the Irish War of Independence between 1919-21.

The Irish Air Corps perform a flypast during the National Day of Commemoration ceremony (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)
The Irish Air Corps perform a flypast during the National Day of Commemoration ceremony (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Archive)

Temperatures soared above 30C in July as the country basked in a heatwave.

A woman makes her way into the sea at Seapoint in Dublin on a hot summer’s day (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Wire)
A woman makes her way into the sea at Seapoint in Dublin on a hot summer’s day (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Wire)

The summer also saw sporting success for Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics.

Irish rowers with their gold and bronze medals, left to right, Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Paul O’Donovan, Fintan McCarthy, Aifric Keogh and Eimear Lambe, at Dublin Airport following their return from the Olympics (Damien Eagers/PA) (PA Wire)
Irish rowers with their gold and bronze medals, left to right, Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Paul O’Donovan, Fintan McCarthy, Aifric Keogh and Eimear Lambe, at Dublin Airport following their return from the Olympics (Damien Eagers/PA) (PA Wire)

Country music star Garth Brooks was the centre of attention in November as he visited Dublin to promote his much-anticipated Irish concerts next September.

Country music star Garth Brooks on the roof of Croke Park in Dublin (/PA) (PA Wire)
Country music star Garth Brooks on the roof of Croke Park in Dublin (/PA) (PA Wire)

In December, Storm Barra brought disruptive winds, heavy rain and snow to Ireland.

Cork County Council and ESB employees help to clear the road and restore power in Timoleague, West Cork (Andy Gibson/PA) (PA Wire)
Cork County Council and ESB employees help to clear the road and restore power in Timoleague, West Cork (Andy Gibson/PA) (PA Wire)
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