HAVING A loved one in hospital is worrying in normal times, but with visits hugely restricted due to coronavirus measures, this year it's tougher than ever.
And for the person in hospital, with little to no visitors allowed and no chance to get outside, it could mean a very lonely time indeed.
A new art project aims to tackle these feelings of isolation in a unique way.
POST_, a new project by artist Deirdre O'Mahony and supported by Saolta Arts and Galway 2020 "allows everybody to take an aural road trip to the West of Ireland and visit places and practices that cannot physically be experienced" as a way to explore the connection between nature and mental well-being.
Over the last 18 months, sound artist John Brennan travelled to the West of Ireland, from Clare to Donegal, collecting the sounds that make up one of the wildest, most beautiful places in the world-- from wind and waves to rural post offices, farms and forests.
The seven-chapter aural trip uses the natural sounds of the West along with scripted voiceovers to allow people to visit Ireland's west coast without having to leave their room, finishing with the "slow awakening of an ancient Oak woodland at dawn, during the deep silence of lockdown".
"Passing farm, coast, bog, mountain, home, churches and holy wells, it explores the healing power of being in nature and the connection between place and practice," Saolta Arts wrote in a description of the unique piece.
POST_ will now be broadcast in the corridors, wards and waiting rooms of Saolta University Health Care Group's hospitals as part of the Arts and Health programme, with director Deirdre O'Mahony telling RTÉ the group had "envisioned an artwork that could bring the landscapes of the West of Ireland to the bedside of every patient at Saolta's seven hospitals as well as the wider public".
You can listen to POST_ in full, choose a specific chapter or learn more about the project on the Saolta Arts website here.