Today is St Patrick's day and joining the millions of people around the world who'll be marking their Irish heritage are 5,000 people from 135 countries, who earlier this month officially became Irish citizens, receiving their certificates of naturalisation and taking the oath of fidelity to the Irish State.
Among them was Majo Rivas, a human rights lawyer originally from Paraguay now living in Cork. Her journey to Ireland from her home on the outskirts of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion came via South Korea, where she met her future husband on a scouting trip 12 years ago.
Now married and working here, Majo put down her roots in Ireland five years ago. "I have a great family here and a great network of friends. People couldn't have been more amazing, especially my husband," she says of her early days in Ireland.
Volunteering with local organisations plugged Majo into her new community stretching her social contacts far and wide. "I've always been an active citizen. I was always involved in women's rights and in scouting in my youth. The mission of scouting is to create a better world wherever you are and I try to live that out in my life in Cork City," she says.
Becoming a citizen meant she had a voice in the country she lived in. "It was very frustrating to me to go through referenda and general elections that affect me and people like me but I didn't get a say. I have never in my life not voted when I could vote. Finally, now I get to vote," she says.
"Citizenship formalised what I have already been doing - contributing to the community. It gives you rights and it's something that's really important. Finally you can say you are Irish".
Majo also wanted to do something positive to mark her citizenship and is fundraising to create a bi-lingual library for a school in Cork, where many parents of children at the school come from different countries.
"I was born in a bi-lingual family. English was my third language. Everything to do with languages opens doors. This is a great way to support children learning with their families," she says.
And while the risk of contagion from coronavirus has meant that all parades have been cancelled, Majo says she will quietly celebrate the national feast day by cooking some traditional Paraguayan dishes for her friends and family.
For Jill Holtz, who also became an Irish citizen at a ceremony in Killarney earlier this month, swearing an oath of fidelity to the Irish State was an emotional experience.
Born in the US but raised in Scotland, she and her husband, Ramsey, a Scot, had lived in Boston before coming to Galway for work. Their eldest daughter Blythe, now 18, was 10 months old when they arrived and their second daughter Fern, who is about to turn 15, was born here.
A year and a half ago Jill decided to apply for citizenship because she loved her life here and also because of Brexit. "Ireland has become a really modern, forward-looking country and I have a real affinity for it. The second reason is Brexit - it makes people who are not European feel insecure," says Jill, who runs her own information website mykidstime.ie from her home in Oranmore.
"We came here for work but stayed because we love it. It's home now and it's also close to where I grew up in Scotland. Oranmore is a really strong community and a really vibrant village," she says.
Jill is curious to see what feelings today brings up, especially after the emotions that rose up during her conferring ceremony. And while there'll be no parade, she says she's content to put her feet up after making a dinner of bacon and cabbage.
Last December Daria Klenovaya, originally from Russia, became an Irish citizen, fulfilling a long-held dream. While she's been living here for over six years, working for Apple in Cork, she first came to Ireland as a 10-year-old with Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children's Project. She clearly remembers the day she first stepped off the plane in Dublin and was met by her Irish host family, the Mannings from Clontarf, who welcomed her into their home many times in the years that followed.
"What I remember most is the smiles. Of course people in Russia smile but I had never seen smiles like this. Everyone was so happy to see us and I grew up wanting to be like this nation," says Daria, who grew up in the town of Klintsy, which was affected by the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986.
"When I came to Dublin I came to the most wonderful Irish family. I don't have any siblings but in Ireland I have three sisters and two brothers. We grew up together and I fell in love with this country and with the people. Coming here was the first time I went outside Russia and it had a really big effect on me. I always wanted to come back," she says.
Daria believes that so much of what happened in her life is due to Mary and John Manning, her Irish parents as she calls them. When she became a citizen at a ceremony in Killarney last December, Daria - like all those waiting to be conferred - was allowed to bring one guest. It was, of course, Mary Manning who accompanied her.
"They pushed me to go forward. They supported me. I'm lucky that I've had two sets of parents who have only wished the best for me. My Irish mum was at the ceremony. I wouldn't have been there getting my Irish passport if it wasn't for her. I really feel I'm living the dream. I never thought this would be my life. People would say to me that it's one thing to go somewhere on holidays, it's different when you live there. They were right - it's better," she says.
She believes being an Irish citizen affords her more security - she will no longer have to apply for visas to travel and hopes more opportunities will open up. "It's this security and stability in my life. Maybe that's not such a big deal for a European person to get citizenship but for a non-EU, a Russian, having an Irish passport is a life-changing thing".
Daria is disappointed that on her first St Patrick's Day as an Irish citizen, the parade isn't going ahead. "Regardless of what's happening it will be a special day. My friends will make sure of that," she says.
One of the things she is most proud of is carrying on the tradition of volunteering she believes is intrinsic to being Irish. When she was little, Daria says she was always amazed at how much Irish people volunteered and this inspired her. "I've been volunteering since I was 14. My Irish mum was such a good example that we all wanted to be like her. Last year I went to Zimbabwe and spent three months there working in a community project. I'm really involved with volunteering with Apple," she says.
One of her proudest moments was when she and her Apple colleagues were packing humanitarian aid packages to send to Belarus as part of the company's commitment to charitable causes. "My journey hasn't always been easy. I never took anything for granted. All of this stared when I was 10, when I met people who were ready to share and help this kid. I grew up with that mindset and now I get to help other people. I never thought I'd be having the life I have," she says.