It was a poignant scene at Fairfield Nursing Home yesterday when one couple celebrated 50 years of marriage together through the window.
Despite nursing homes forced to prohibit visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic, Denis McCarthy was determined to make his golden wedding anniversary special and serenaded his wife Ann with Van Morrison’s 'Brown Eyed Girl' from outside her nursing home window.
Speaking to Neil Prendeville on Cork’s RedFM, their daughter Annette Manning paid tribute to her parents and their "50 years of wedded bliss".
Almost two years ago Ann got sick and now requires 24-hour care, she had not seen her husband in several weeks due to the current pandemic and the separation was "very very hard on them both", Annette said.
Anette and her seven siblings got in touch with the nursing home to see if they could help them with some celebration plans, and the staff at Fairfield were happy to oblige.
"We got on to the chef at the Fairfield Nursing Home - Niamh Condon - an amazing woman and she produced this chocolate cake that left us speechless it was so gorgeous," Annette said.
Her brother Donal brought his father up to the nursing home, where Ann didn’t suspect a thing.
The surprise was "very emotional" for the family and the staff at the nursing home.
In a statement on social media, the nursing home said the moment pulled at every heartstring.
"This is such a hard and emotional time for staff, residents and families alike. Today had us all in floods of tears.
"Ann and Denis celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary, and all they could do was look at each other through a window!"
"Such hard times for all involved. This has really pulled all our heartstrings."
In a beautiful tribute to his wife, Denis gave a rendition of 'Brown Eyed Girl', one of the couple’s favourite songs. "Even though the window was closed he [Denis] was trying to serenade her.
"It was probably a good thing that she couldn’t hear him sing," Annette joked.
"Yesterday was all about mum and dad, the two little love birds," she said. "It was absolutely heartwarming."