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23rd Dec 2021

21 of the Lovin team’s favourite good news stories from 2021!

Katy Thornton

It’s been a tough year, we get that. But it hasn’t been all doom and gloom!

As we come to the end of 2021, there have been some epic highs, and some colossal lows. We all hoped this year would see the end of the pandemic and it’s disheartening that it has ramped up again right when we were hoping to celebrate Christmas as normal. Naturally most of this year focused on negative news regarding Covid-19 and while it can be difficult to focus on the positives, this year hasn’t been all bad. If you’re feeling a little down this festive season, hopefully these stories will help you feel better as we approach 2022!

1. Planning permission refused on site of beloved Cobblestone Pub

Like much of Dublin, here at Lovin we were devastated to hear the news that there were plans in place to build a hotel on the Cobblestone site. Luckily that permission was denied, much to the relief of the 35,000 people who signed the petition against the plans.

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2. Julius Caesar the tortoise returns home

After nearly three years in rehab, Julius Caesar, a 20kg loggerhead turtle that washed up in Donegal, flew home to sunnier pastures. He got the full royal treatment, flying  with Aer Lingus to Gran Canaria.

3. 80 year old Paddy Conaghan travelling the coast of Ireland to raise funds for charity

We are obsessed with this story. Paddy Conaghan started his pier swimming journey in Árainn Mhór, Donegal and hopes to swim at three or four a day until he’s travelled all of Ireland. Conaghan is fundraising for Gemma’s Legacy of Hope, a counselling service that struggled with funding over the pandemic. Fairplay to Paddy.

4. Brown Thomas doorman helps out busker

This TikTok just warmed our hearts. One of the doormen from Brown Thomas in Dublin helped a busker raise money by singing himself, and singing incredibly well!

5. New Bank Holiday

Who doesn’t love a day off. We were buzzing to hear that we might be getting a new bank holiday next year, as a thank you to all the front line workers for their tireless effort during the pandemic.

6. Cara Delevingne being name after the Aer Lingus Magazine

Okay, this was just gas. In a conversation with Cara Delevingne’s father Charles, The Irish Times discovered that he took inspiration from the name of the Aer Lingus magazine, Cara, for his daughter.

7. An Post closing the gender pay gap

An Post became one of the first big companies in Ireland to lower the gender pay gap to effectively zero. Bualadh bos!

8. Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington saying Hakuna Matata on telly

I mean, that one speaks for itself doesn’t it? Iconic.

9. Irish Paralympic Athletes take home seven medals

Ireland won seven medals at this year’s Paralympics in Tokyo, and we could not be prouder. Ireland finished 32nd out of 78 countries, with wins for Katie-George McCrystal, Eve Dunleavy, Jason Smyth, Ellen Keane, Nicola Turner, and Gary O’Reilly.

10. Gardaí in Clare bring some Valentine’s cheer to elderly locals

Elderly people have suffered a lot throughout the pandemic. While trying to keep healthy, they have often been left isolated, and kept apart from loved ones. The Gardaí in Clare decided to deliver Valentines gifts to elderly locals as a way to keep their spirits up.

11. Penneys introduce autism friendly shopping across Ireland

We were delighted to hear of Penneys’ commitment to inclusivity. In November they worked with AsIAm to create an autism friendly shopping experience for customers, and we hope to see more stores follow suit soon.

12. Dog found up Dublin Mountains

This story made it to The Dodo account, so you know it must be heartwarming. Neesha the dog had been missing for two weeks when this couple came across her on a hike. They travelled 10kms with Neesha and reunited her with her family.

13. Frostbit lad surrounded by a pod of dolphins

You just cannot make this sort of thing up. August saw Ruairí McSorley of frostbit fame in a precarious position, surrounded by a pod of dolphins four kilometres from shore. Luckily he was rescued and made it back on land safe and sound. But this has got to be one of our favourite stories from the past year.

14. Wally the Walrus

In August, Ireland got an Arctic visitor in the form of Wally the Walrus, and he kept us glued to our phones keeping up with his adventures. In the absence of our beloved Fungie, Wally provided a much needed distraction.

15. Howth Conservation Project with goats

The Howth Conservation Project, which had old goats deployed to eat away at gorse, was a heart warming tale that came to us in September. Gorse has the huge potential to catch fire and destroy land, therefore the goats can eat their fill and conserve the spot as well.

16. Irish Community welcoming Syrian refugees

In July, 20 Irish neighbourhoods welcomed Syrian refugees as reported by RTÉ News. The programme restarted in 2019 but halted amid the arrival of Coronavirus in 2020. In July 2021, it was able to continue once more.

17. President Higgins donating books from his personal stash

Trust Miggledy to tug on the heart strings by donating many books from his personal stash to the public library system. Approximately 100 books in total were donated in March.

18. Children send Valentine’s cards to frontline workers in Sligo

It’s no secret that frontline workers have been the backbone we’ve all needed throughout the pandemic. In February, tons of Sligo school children sent Valentine’s cards to frontline workers to thank them for all their hard work.

19. Ireland opens its first dedicated wildlife hospital

This Wildlife Hospital was years in the making, and finally opened in February. It’s based in Meath and is run by volunteers who are studying or have qualifications in animal care.

20. Family plants 400 trees during lockdown

One of the best ways to beat the lockdown blues was to start up a new hobby. This Clare family decided to restore some of Ireland’s native pine trees as a way to get through the restrictive months, and ended up planting 400 trees in only three days!

21. Irish violinist plays at Biden inauguration

Nothing gives Irish people more buzz than seeing one of our own out there in the big world thriving. Patricia Treacy played the violin at US President Joe Biden’s inauguration back in January, and it made us all a bit weepy.

See, it wasn’t all bad was it? What were some of your fave feel good news stories?

Header image via Instagram/paralympics_ireland

READ ON: The story of the Donegal man who’s swimming in every port and beach in Ireland to raise funds for local counselling service

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