There’s a surrealism to the silence.
The centre of Armagh is empty of people as the reality of the current situation finally seeps through.
With all of us told only to go out if absolutely necessary – for shopping, work, where they cannot work from home, exercise (albeit close to home as per instruction) or to offer care to vulnerable – this is what we witness.
Once busy streets now strangely and eerily devoid of people.
With weather improving there should have been more people out and about, the countdown to Easter on, a palpable excitement as longer, warmer evenings await.
But – very much fortunately and thankfully – most do now realise the gravity of the situation in which we find ourselves and this is the scene instead.
Police are out and about; there is a very evident presence on the roads and on our streets at this time to enforce new powers.
The city centre is like something from a movie. Where people might have been out enjoying a coffee, heading to a local bar, the cinema, a stroll perhaps, there is no evidence of any activity.
Shutters down, Armagh – bar the essentials – is a city very much in lockdown.
The photographs – by Emma McAnallen – show the sun setting on Monday evening over Armagh.
There’s a great sadness in these striking images of our familiar surroundings. Look upon them but look to the future too.
It will be tough times and no doubt major changes, grief and anxiety lie ahead.
But we must look forward and beyond this. We must stay at home, but look to a day with hope of seeing, with our support, our businesses bouncing back; let’s cherish our families and our friends, be thankful for the beauty that surrounds us and, when this has finally passed, never again be guilty of taking anything for granted.
Please stay safe and look out for one another.
The sun will rise again.
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