"He is looking forward to holding the baby soon," new aunt Emma Gallachoir tweeted of her dad's excitement over his first grandchild, Faolán

By Jen Juneau
March 30, 2020 01:30 PM
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Emma GallachoirTwitter

A new grandfather in Ireland will have to wait to hold his grandson for the first time.

In a heartbreaking image that has gone viral on social media since proud aunt Emma Gallachoir tweeted it on March 21, her brother Míchéal Gallachoir is seen holding his baby boy Faolán as Míchéal and Emma’s dad proudly looks in through a window at his first grandchild.

The move comes amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which is forcing loved ones apart via social distancing in an effort to keep the virus from spreading further.

“Three generations of social distancing as my dad meets his grandson for the first time,” Emma captioned the memorable image, adding three crying-face emojis.

Míchéal, who resides near Dublin, told Today that Faolán was born on March 14, sharing, “Our district nurse would come on to sterilize all our clothes that we wore to the hospital” and revealing that his dad lives nearby and came by to see little Faolán through the window on March 21.

As of Monday afternoon, Emma’s photo (which was taken by Míchéal’s wife, also named Emma) had racked up over 700,000 likes and 97,000 retweets — an unexpected turn of events, according to the new dad.

“Because we have no visitors, [my wife] posted it to relatives through WhatsApp and sent it to my sister,” Míchéal told Today. “My sister posted in on Twitter, and we didn’t think too much of it, really.”

One day after she posted the snapshot, Faolán’s Aunt Emma shared a follow-up picture of her nephew and wrote, “The good news is baby Faolán is doing great and oblivious to his new fame.”

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., as of the morning of March 30
Martin Schwartz

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“My dad is also doing well and is completely oblivious to his new fame,” she added, alongside a crying-laughing emoji. “He wouldn’t let me take a pic of him but he’s smiling! My brother lives about 2 minutes away from him so he went up to say hello. He knew he couldn’t come in. He is looking forward to holding the baby soon.”

As of Monday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University was reporting a total of 2,615 confirms coronavirus cases in Ireland, with 46 deaths. Globally, there have been 745,308 confirmed cases and 35,307 deaths.

According to a New York Times database, there are at least 144,732 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. — the most worldwide — with at least 2,527 people having died from coronavirus-related illness.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.