THE PRESIDENT of Ireland has lit a 'river of light' in honour of all the Irish abroad who will not make it home this Christmas.
With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to cause havoc across the globe, thousands of Irish abroad who would usually be preparing to make the long journey home for Christmas have now made the decision to stay away in order to protect their loved ones.
Thousands of families in Ireland will have an empty seat at the dinner table; many will tragically be spending Christmas alone.
While public health experts have urged people to reconsider returning to Ireland for Christmas if they cannot do so safely, the President of Ireland has lit up the Áras an Uachtaráin to remind the diaspora that the lights of home always shines for the global family.
Switching on the Christmas lights yesterday, Michael D Higgins and his wife, Sabina, lit the 'river of light' to connect "all the Irish people and all those who cannot be with their families this Christmas".
The breathtaking spectacle streams from the first floor of the Áras all across the grounds of the building, based in Phoenix Park, shattering the prevailing darkness with light.
At #ÁrasAnUachtaráin, President Higgins and Sabina lit a river of light, streaming from the Light for the #Diaspora on...
An image of the Áras lit up in support of those who cannot come home, posted by the President to his official Facebook page, drew comments of support and sadness from those across the world affected by the pandemic
"Stuck here in San Francisco and wishing I could get home to my family," one person, Alsún Ní Chasaide, wrote.
"Thank you for thinking of us all who are away this year."
Another woman, Clóda Ní Baoighill, wrote:
"Beautiful gesture, thank you President Higgins, it is sad we cannot get home due to Covid, please God will get home soon."
"Thank you for this very kind, thoughtful and heartfelt gesture towards those of us abroad," Genevieve Elliot added. "It is wonderful to know our President thinks of us."