A 208 passenger who lost her sight to an eye infection she contracted while backpacking in India offered hope to others rebuilding their lives after life-changing events.
Maire Lordan from Bishopstown opened up about life with her guide dog Quinby on the route linking Cork city to Bishopstown and Curraheen.
"I was about 30 when I developed an eye infection while in India."
Maire was eventually matched with a guide dog named Megan.
"Megan was famous around Bishopstown," she recalled. "It was devastating when she had to retire. I heard she was rehomed with a really lovely family. I never got to meet them. It would have been too difficult."
The year that followed presented many challenges for Maire.
"After Megan left I became housebound for a year. It wasn't just my lack of sight that kept me from leaving the house. I was also suffering with pain which made things even more difficult."
Nevertheless, Maire remained positive throughout the ordeal.
"After going through something like losing your sight it takes a lot to depress you," she joked."During that time I got really into gardening. This was what led me to pursue a horticulture course in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa."
Life took a positive turn with the arrival of guide dog Quinby.
"It's so much easier having a guide dog because you know you're safe. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Quinby was life-changing. He is a fabulous dog. I suppose it helps that he's so adored."
Maire enrolled in Coláiste Stiofain Naofa that same year.
"During classes you'll always hear the others saying "listen Quinby, because she won't remember!"
Maire highlighted the valuable lessons she has learned from her experiences.
"I owned a motorbike before losing my sight and used to love backpacking. Of course, I can no longer do these things, but new areas of life have opened up to me. I see little differences in myself now. For instance, my navigational skills have improved significantly. The experience taught me that life is precious and we need to value it as best we can."
She had some sage advice for those struggling with sight loss.
"Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You can sense people tying themselves in knots wondering if they should offer assistance. In reality, there is no need to worry about these things at all, It's all good."
While Quinby is a diligent worker he also enjoys some downtime.
"We go on holidays together and I'll often take him for free runs in the forest. We've only been together since last November but in that short time he's really settled in."
Matthew Murphy from Fairhill also had an inspiring attitude.
"I lost half of my right leg to diabetes in 2009. In 2011 I had a triple bypass and in 2012 I lost half of my right leg, but thank God I'm flying. I can still go out for my pint. I'll go anywhere that you can get the wheelchair around."
Meanwhile, James Santry from Bishopstown spoke of the love of his life-fishing.
My dad brought us up to fish competitively. The odd time he used to keep me out of school to go looking for bait. I can remember digging around for worms with a fork."
His love for the sport continued into adulthood.
"The biggest fish I ever caught was a monkfish. I threw him back straight away. He would have been to rich to eat. It was more about the buzz of catching him."
James said his dream in life is to one day own a charter boat.
"I'd love to have a charter boat to take people out fishing."
Lee Pardy from Carrigaline was travelling with his grandmother Cathy McSweeney from Carrigaline.
"My granny is the best," he said. "Tomorrow she's taking me for breakfast at McDonalds. I'm going to get the egg McMuffin."
The pair were joking about Lee's claim to fame.
"I've been in the newspaper seven times. One time I had my picture in for winning an Easter egg."
Moira Keegan from Carrigrohane, who is studying politics at UCC, referenced the Me Too movement.
"It's strange to think that I got to four years of a political degree and this is only coming to the forefront of discussions now."
The student is weighing up her options as she reaches the end of her time in university "I don't want to be a politician but I am very interested in how policy works."