#NosesForSíoda shows the best the Irish people have to offer in the face of loss 1 year ago

#NosesForSíoda shows the best the Irish people have to offer in the face of loss

It's been a rough year, for obvious reasons.

The news yesterday that one of  President Michael D. Higgins' dogs Síoda passed away after a short illness hit a wearied Irish people really hard yesterday.


That might sound strange, in a year where we have become accustomed to daily announcements of new Covid-19 cases and the obvious sadness that comes with further reported Covid deaths. But it did.

Maybe it was the fact that so many of us can relate to the loss of a beloved pet. Maybe it's because the photos of Bród and Síoda welcoming visitors to our president's residence over the last few years have contrasted so sharply with what we have seen of other world leaders. Maybe it's just because, as a nation, we're tired and sad and the loss of our national joyous ball of fluff came at the end of yet another crappy week.

At a time when our capital went into a three week lockdown, the pandemic is resurgent across Europe and we face into an uncertain winter, what may seem to have been a relatively small bit of sad news felt like it had punctured the last bit of optimism in us after 2020 had done the lion's share of deflating our national sense of optimism. It was a kick when we were down, and the last thing we needed.

But, like so many times this year, hope and collective support once again refused to lie down.

In the midst of the outpouring of sadness and condolences for Ireland's First Dog, #NosesForSíoda began to trend on Irish social media. People posted pictures of their pets, some of whom had also recently passed away, as the country tried in some way to lighten the dark mood that has fallen.

It's a small thing. I know that. But in a way it captured something we've all needed in 2020 and something we will continue to need going forward; each other.

The ability to rally around each other, to show vulnerability and receive compassion in return. The want and desire to ease another's suffering.


So many people have had their grief stunted and forced almost underground by the inability to have full funerals, and hold one another in recent months. It felt like yesterday tapped into a well of national, unspoken grief we will need to come to terms with on the other side of this crisis. Síoda's death perhaps gave the country a chance to mourn together in a way we haven't really had the chance to do yet.

You might say this is blown out of all proportion. You might say it's an absolute reach to say all of this. You might have already scrolled past the words to get to the pictures of cute dogs.

But I think the fact that in such a difficult year, that we steadfastly refuse to lose our humanity and can unite in such a simple, yet effective way while the world divides around us, is something to be celebrated.

Now you can look at the dogs!