Lockdown through children's eyes: Winners of The Irish Times art competition

Our overall winner, two runners-up and a wealth of highly commended entries selected by Don Conroy

Last month The Irish Times invited children to enter our “isolation art” competition with a painting or drawing illustrating how life has changed for them in recent weeks.

More than 870 children sent us their pictures. The competition winners were selected by the children's illustrator and environmentalist Don Conroy (check out his tutorials and tips for getting creative on his YouTube channel and website, donconroy.com), who says he was "very impressed by the variety and quality of the entries, some of which captured very successfully the mood of this time". Congratulations to all who entered.


James Moonan, aged 15. 'This is called Wild Imagination. It is a picture of me inside my house looking out and thinking of all the things I'd like to see outside my window. Like pink flying flamingos, snowy mountains, giant colourful flowers and my favourite animal, a lemur.'


Aoife Clinch, aged 11. 'My picture is of a girl with a mask dreaming of summer at Salthill Beach. I used pastels pencils and crayons.'



Holly Aird, aged six. 'This is a picture of me and my nanny. I'm looking forward to seeing my nanny, giving her a hug and having a sleepover with her and my grandad when this is all over.'


Elizabeth McElroy, aged 13. 'This picture captures how it feels to be trapped indoors and slowly squeezed of normal routines. I chose a snake because snakes represent temptation, and it's hard to resist doing things you normally enjoy at this time.'

Sadhbh, aged three. Sadhbh drew this for her mummy, Danielle. She says it is only for girls. She drew it in the morning after dreaming that she lost all her family in the village where she was anxiously looking for them. She found her mummy first and was happy.

Juliana Fearon, aged four and three-quarters. 'This picture is about me and my brother, Zak, and my mummy and daddy going to the park in the sunshine after Daddy comes home from working in the hospital.'

Alice Arthurs, aged five. 'The tooth fairy joined us in lockdown.'

Levi Patrick Coada, aged six. 'This is my granny's cat Galbeneatza. When this virus goes away I will go to visit her, sleep over at her house and play with her cat as much as I want.'

Róisín Fennelly, aged seven. 'This is a picture of me, my brother Hugo, who is five, my sister Aisling, who is three, and my daddy. My mommy is a doctor, and my daddy has been minding us while she is at work. It's been great fun, because we get to eat hot dogs for lunch and do rollerskate derbies around the house!'

Aoibhinn Donlon, aged six: 'This is a picture of myself and my friend Juliette. I have not seen Juliette in a long time, as we don't go the same school. She was my friend in Montessori. She is French, and she is really good fun. I can't wait until she comes to my house for a playdate!'

Éabha Meade, aged seven. 'How I feel now, and how I will feel when the coronavirus is over.'

Isabelle McCabe-Bushe, aged seven. 'My self-portrait is about how I feel sad and worried. The splats of paint are my worries.'

Éadaoin Fenton, aged eight. 'I drew this picture of Grandad because it's his birthday next week, and because I can't see him I imagine him in his garden, watering his plants.'

Sadhbh Breen, aged eight. 'Dear Don, my picture shows me looking out my window, waving bye-bye to our postman. The postman had just delivered a letter from my auntie, who I can't visit because of Covid-19. I miss seeing my family and friends. I miss playing outside with them. Our postman is helping us to stay in contact with each other and is helping the elderly in our community to stay connected. I drew this picture to show how important the postman and postwomen are, especially at this time, to show that it is important to keep in touch with family and friends, and to tell you how much I miss playing outside.'

Emily Plunkett, aged eight. 'My painting is about a bird in a birdhouse in a tree who is wondering when she can fly again.'

Oisín Meade, aged eight. 'These are all my friends. I call us the Dream Team. I miss them all.'

Ripley Evans, aged eight. 'This is a picture of the doctors and nurses fighting the Covid-19 monster with syringes filled with the cure.'

Rory Dyball, aged nine. 'I drew this picture to show different feelings during the lockdown. One side is happy; one side shows when I feel a bit sad.'

Casey Homer, aged nine. 'This is my picture to celebrate when this is all over. It is like when there is a graduation and students throw their hats in the air to celebrate. When everyone is safe and healthy we will be able to throw our mask in the air in celebration. I drew the picture with pencil and went around it with marker, and then I coloured it in on the computer.'

Christopher Wong-Lye, aged 10. 'I feel worried every time my mom goes grocery shopping. I am afraid she might catch Covid-19. I am grateful for the healthcare workers who risk their lives to fight Covid-19. The title of my art piece is Shine Your Light.'

Leo McCallum, aged 4. 'This is my friend. I miss my school friends so I have made one. His name is "Leo".'

Hannah Liu, aged 11. This is Hannah's grandma. She has been living with her grandma for eight years. Now her grandma is in China and she really misses her.

Eva Munnelly, aged 11. 'I'm an only child, so I did this because I like being in school with my friends, but if you're at home you're safe.'

Honor Hehir, aged 10. 'This is a picture of me waiting for Covid-19 to be over!'

Sophie O'Driscoll, aged 10. 'On Easter Saturday, April 11th, 2020, I went to Bushy Park with my mummy and daddy and my older sister and my dog, Bailey. Bushy Park is within our 2km radius from our house. We brought a picnic and a ball. As my parents were sitting on the grass in Bushy Park I took this photo and decided to paint it. I love picnics, and this painting represents many of the fun things I like to do during this time of restrictions with Covid-19. My mummy was reading the paper in Bushy Park, and this is how I found out about this art competition.'

Lucy Suttle. 'One day we went for a walk on the beach. It used to be filled with people walking or having a fun day out, but this time nobody was there. I looked at the sea and wondered if my friends were thinking about me.'

Catherine Clarke Collins, aged 11. 'Is this two kilometres from home?'

Cathal Walsh, aged 11. 'My hero wears a cape... and a mask. This piece represents how courageous and dedicated the frontline workers are and how they are risking their lives to help all the people of Ireland and the world. This nurse is flying above the skyline in my picture, wearing PPE and a cape, just like a real superhero.'

Coralie Hart, aged 11. 'This is a painting of my nanny drinking a cup of tea. I'm missing her, especially as I normally see her at Easter. I miss her very, very, very much.'

Lucy Vaughan, aged 11. 'Mixed Emotions! I'm in lockdown. Sometimes I feel so happy to be free from routine. There are times when I feel sad thinking about all the people I miss so much and I cannot visit. I wish coronavirus would disappear.'

Ava Power Martin, aged 12. 'This picture shows me and my sister video-chatting our granny and grandad, as we can't see them in real life during these unfortunate times. I painted this as I think it is a good representation of how I'm communicating with family.'

Leah Keogh, aged 12. 'Missing all my friends during this lockdown. That's me second from the left in the back row.'

Maggie Morrison, aged 12. 'My picture is of a tree on the moon. The part of the tree that is inside the moon is lifeless, because people have taken all the flowers. The part that is outside is alive and blooming, because it has not been harmed. Since we have been in lockdown, humans have not been able to damage the environment, and nature is thriving. If we leave nature alone it heals itself.'

Eva Boo, aged 12. 'My picture shows the world wearing a mask. It symbolises the whole world working together to protect against Covid-19. The Earth is holding its hands in a heart, because even though we can't see people we love right now, we are keeping our distance to protect them because we love them.'

Joseph Finn, aged 12. 'This is a picture of my granny, who lives in Armagh. I live in Kildare. Unfortunately, due to the virus, Granny couldn't come down for my confirmation in March, and I haven't seen her since Christmas. I miss her a lot.'

Ruairí Condon, aged 12. 'When I am going to school on the Dart I like to look at the view of Dublin Bay. I painted this picture to remind me of it.'

Áine McPolin. 'I painted this for my nanny, who is in hospital.  Grandad couldn't visit for their 50th wedding anniversary, on April 1st. It was Nanny's birthday on April 14th. I painted her these sunflowers and have sown sunflower seeds, and I hope I can give her the flowers and painting soon. Nanny loves flowers, and I painted her a small picture of  daffodils for Easter, as we wouldn't see her this year. I really hope that we can all go to Donegal soon and see Nanny and Grandad.'

Fiona Mooney, aged 13. 'This is a picture of me and my dad. I painted it because we are separated during the Covid-19 lockdown, because he is looking after my grandad. I miss my dad very much, and this is the longest we have not seen each other.'

Abaigh Roarty, aged 13. 'I got inspiration to create this drawing because during this quarantine it has taught me to appreciate the people around us. The drawing is inspired by a photo of myself and my sister after coming out of the cinema, one of our favourite things to do together. My sister Clara has a learning disability called Angelman syndrome; she also can't speak. She's had to get used to us not going out to the cinema, restaurants and school but is coping well with that. During isolation it has given me a chance to spend more time with my parents. But, sadly, my mother has tested positive for Covid-19, so she has to self-isolate for 14 days. We're all getting used to that, and it is quite lonely in the house without her.'

Chloe Lynch, aged 11.  My drawing shows life during quarantine in our busy house with Dad trying to work upstairs.  There are five kids in our family and we are very noisy!  Dad is always telling us to be quiet but is happy when we bring him cake.

Lucy Dowdall, aged 13. 'I painted this picture on canvas paper with acrylic paints of my grandad Jim. I painted it of him because he's someone I miss and can't wait to see him again. Also he always encourages me to do arts and crafts and has been setting me tasks during the past few weeks. He is actually the one who told me about this competition so I hope I do him proud.'

Oran Donlon, aged 9.  'This is a picture of my family at our local park in Sutton. It is 2km within our home and we go there every day! Sometimes my dad can't come because he is working. Myself and my dad play football together and my mum likes to walk in circles around the park. Sometimes my little sister cycles and sometimes she brings her teddies to play. I love us all being together in this park.'

Emma Guiry, aged 12. 'I am in sixth class. I am looking forward to first year, however I don't want to end these incredible years so abruptly. So I decided that instead of mourning what never happened, I would rejoice the good and bad moments of the past seven and a half years.'

Saoirse Butterly, aged 9. 'This is a picture of me and my little brother Heber (7) and Bebhinn (4) in our happy safety bubble. We are at home together and are safe. We are all playing with each other a lot more than usual which is nice most of the time but we also have a few fights. I miss playing with my friends. I see my friends on Whatsapp and Zoom meetings but it is not the same.'

Iseult Ní Bhriain, aged 13. 'This picture shows people social-distancing on the beach in Kerry.'

Sanee Guo, aged 14. 'This is how I see the situation we are in now. I think the doctors and nurses are seen as angels to fight the virus and save the people that are in the devil's hand. During the isolation I think that the frontline workers are always angels, and I really pray for their safety.'

Katie Ryan, aged 16. 'My picture is a self-portrait in coloured pencil of when I dyed my hair pink during quarantine. Unnatural hair colours aren't allowed in my school, so I felt the process of dyeing my hair and then drawing it very empowering. Being in isolation has really allowed me to express and discover my own style and learn more about myself as a person.'

Lucia Lynam, aged 7. 'This picture is of a video group chat I had with my school friends during the lockdown and time off school. It was really nice to talk to them and see them and have a laugh together because I miss seeing them at school. I can't wait until I can see them at school again so we can play tag in the yard at lunch time.'

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny

Ciara Kenny, founding editor of Irish Times Abroad, a section for Irish-connected people around the world, is Editor of the Irish Times Magazine