When he was a kid, Ray D'Arcy felt sure he was going to be a doctor and the coronavirus pandemic has been a reminder of his thwarted ambitions.
"From the age of 10, to the time I did my Leaving Cert, I was convinced I was going to go into medicine," the veteran broadcaster recalls. "I was a point short when it came to the Leaving Cert and I didn't go to a school where there was a culture of repeating, so that was that. At times like this, you do wonder about the road less travelled, however."
Medicine's loss was broadcasting's gain. While he has continued to broadcast his popular afternoon radio programme - Christy Moore's appearance was a recent highlight - Ray's life has still been impacted by the lockdown. "Some days I go for a run and the sun is shining and I feel amazing, but then I open the paper and see that 41 people have lost their lives and it's horrific. Logistically, it's affected things in RTE. We were told to come in after the Ryan Tubridy team had gone home.
"I'm hugely lucky because I've a family here, I've a back garden and my wife and I love each other - I can't imagine what all of this is like when the family unit isn't working. I've a spare room that I can work from.
"By coincidence, before this started, I watched Groundhog Day and now it feels like we're stuck in a real-life Groundhog Day. Sometimes I feel it could be any day of the week. There's good days and bad days, as always, but it's more heightened now."
He says that the financial situation "wasn't the best" in RTE before Covid-19. "It is going to hit RTE commercially in a big way. There's a huge irony in this, in that more people are tuning into RTE radio and television and yet revenue from advertising is going to be down. I think events have shown the importance of public service broadcasting and there's a real sense of togetherness."
The lockdown has been an opportunity to work on a new passion: a podcast series with his wife, Jenny Kelly, with whom he used to work on Today FM. "A couple of years ago I bought her a little podcast setup. One evening we were home from work and she was procrastinating about it and she'd say that herself.
"These things get bigger and bigger as time goes on if you don't work on them and so I recorded the chat and it was exactly half-an-hour and we put it up (online). It brought me back and it was really enjoyable. When you're being recorded, it is the real you, but it's slightly heightened. She's a young woman and it was an itch, increasingly, that she needed to scratch."
Over the years, Ray has matured from the cheeky chappie to a titan of daytime radio and his ability to stir the pot - and generate controversy where necessary - has been a counterpoint to his natural affability. "When I was 36, I started in radio and it was a brilliant process because I was given freedom and I had my opinions and I owned them," he says. "I was being true to myself. I wasn't saying things after a fashion because it was a bandwagon to jump. Some people's memories of me is still The Den. Most people know I'm an adult with opinions, I'm not the little boy with the shock of black hair any more."
He says the rivalries at RTE are overblown - he wishes Angela Scanlon well and is effusive in his praise of Tommy Tiernan - and points out that the two were at each other's weddings. His career moves, from RTE to Today FM and back again, were sometimes fraught with doubts, and he adds: "I've had to make decisions in my career and at the time they seem huge."
He also has been unafraid to seek professional advice, saying: "I have done therapy. I wasn't mentally ill but certainly it did help. It brought clarity. I suppose I just needed an independent voice that wasn't emotionally involved in my situation. There has been a sort of mental health revolution in this country and I think it's great when people can speak openly about this stuff."
Broadcaster moves are scrutinised, almost as closely as the soccer transfer market, but Ray says he has no intention of leaving RTE. "I'm not planning to leave. As a journalist, things are a bit quiet at the moment, there's not much activity when it comes to transfers."
The thing he's most looking forward to after lockdown, he says, is hugging his mother. "I can't wait to have her in my arms again."
Listen to the Jenny and Ray at home podcast at https://podtail.com/en/podcast/jenny-and-ray-at-home-podcast/