Taoiseach Leo Varadkar decided towards the end of last week that he wanted to speak to the nation, believing it was important to address an increasingly unnerved Irish public on their national holiday - "a St Patrick's Day like no other. A day that none of us will ever forget," as he described it.
RTÉ confirmed last night the speech had 1,592,300 viewers, many of them drawn in by the sudden announcement just before 8pm that Mr Varadkar would address the country under a rarely invoked section of the Broadcasting Act that renders the national broadcaster powerless to stop the government from speaking to its people directly.
Mr Varadkar had already delivered a 'where were you when...' moment last Thursday outside the US president's guest house in Washington DC, announcing drastic measures to slow the spread of the virus, as dawn broke over the US capital.
The announcement of school and crèche closures triggered panic at home and forced the Taoiseach to issue a further message later in the day urging the public not to empty supermarket shelves. The optics of all this being said by the country's caretaker leader thousands of miles across the Atlantic were not great.
But on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar reset the narrative and delivered a speech that may well come to define his political career except, as he said himself, "this is the calm before the storm".
The Taoiseach wrote the original draft of the speech in recent days, fine-tuning it with his speech-writer Patrick Geoghegan, the Trinity history professor whose imprint on Mr Varadkar's speeches is evident whenever there are references to the past.
Mr Geoghegan is on paternity leave, but was still able to have input along with the rest of Mr Varadkar's team, including chief of staff Brian Murphy, programme manager John Carroll and press secretary Nick Miller, his deputy Sarah Meade, who cut the speech to the required length for TV, as well as advisors Angela Flanagan and Clare Mungovan.
Contrary to speculation, John Concannon, the former head of the now defunct 'spin unit', who has been seconded to help with crisis communications in the coming months, was not involved, sources confirmed.
RTÉ was approached at the weekend about the possibility of such an address but it was all kept secret until just over an hour before broadcast for fear it might lead to the same panic as last week. When news of its imminent broadcast did emerge, Government sources were quick to brief that there would be little new being said.
The provision under which it took place, Section 122 (4) of the Broadcasting Act, could not be clearer: "The minister may direct a corporation to allocate broadcasting time for announcements for and on behalf of any minister of the government, in the event of a major emergency... and the corporation shall comply with the direction."
It meant RTÉ had no choice but to immediately comply and organise an outside broadcast from Government Buildings and make changes to planned programming - all on a bank holiday with many staff working from home.
The last time we referred to an event as 'The Emergency' was World War II, so it was no coincidence perhaps that the Taoiseach's speech was peppered with nods to that period.
In praising healthcare staff - "not all superheroes wear capes, some wear scrubs and gowns" - Mr Varadkar drew on inspiration not just from that popular internet meme but also Winston Churchill when he said: "Never will so many ask so much of so few."
It was a paraphrasing of the wartime prime minister's famous declaration that "never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
In seeking to discourage people from relying on unreliable sources for information, he said: "Fear is a virus in itself." It echoed the words of wartime US president Franklin D Roosevelt who said at his inauguration in 1933: "The only thing we have to fear is... fear itself."
Unlike previous Section 122 addresses by his predecessors, the Taoiseach was not sitting at a table peering down the camera.
Instead he emerged from his office, walked down the corridor, and stood in front of a podium to deliver his solemn address.
It was somewhat reminiscent of how Barack Obama walked down a White House hallway one evening in May 2011 to deliver the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan.
Mr Obama's former speech-writer, Cody Keenan, was among those to lavish praise on Mr Varadkar.
"Tough, strong speech to give on Ireland's national holiday. Reassuring, empathetic, directly addresses young people, the world, and fear itself. Brings everyone into the front lines. Well done. Will be remembered," he tweeted.
Elsewhere in these pages those with expertise in the field of healthcare provide analysis and advice on getting through the coronavirus outbreak. Let me address some of its economic consequences here.