An 82-year-old great-grandfather who feared he would die alone when he contracted the coronavirus has said he wants people to know "that there is always hope" after he made a "miraculous" recovery.
Despite his age and several underlying health issues, Paddy-Joe Lynch "fought it off like a teenager", according to doctors.
Paddy-Joe told the Herald that when he went into hospital almost two weeks ago, he was well aware that the odds were stacked against him.
"I was convinced that it was it for me," he said.
"I was very afraid. I can't tell you how afraid I was. When I was told I had tested positive, I couldn't believe it.
"I was on the ward and the next thing they covered me up and brought me up to the isolation unit. I didn't think I would make it. I said, 'That's it, this is the end of the line now for me'. I prayed a lot and I had a lot of people praying for me."
Paddy-Joe, a retired farmer and builder from Ballinameen, Boyle, Co Roscommon, had taken his tractor to the bog to collect turf nearly two weeks ago when he started to experience pains in his chest.
After returning home to the house he shares with his daughter Nicola and her husband Johnny, things started to get progressively worse.
What followed was a serious of frantic calls between Nicola, her sister Connie and their niece Anne.
"Nicola called Nowdoc and an ambulance was sent immediately," said Connie. "Daddy was taken into hospital that night and immediately isolated. He had a temperature and chest pains and he told me he had never felt pain like it in his life.
"The doctors treated him like he had the virus straight away. He was tested and the result came back several days later saying he was positive. We were extremely concerned at that point."
Inside Sligo University Hospital, while being cared for by a team of "fantastic" nurses, Paddy-Joe began to contemplate the battle he was up against.
"I was thinking about dying in there alone," he said. "That was really worrying me because you die on your own with this. Your family cannot see you, they can't be with you in the end.
"You can't have a proper funeral and all those things were going through my mind when I was lying in there. I said to the doctor, 'I'm finished now'.
"Everything had been going well before for me. I had been doing bits of work here and there and then this came on to me and I thought, 'Right, my time is up'."
As the days went by, Paddy-Joe, although extremely weakened by the virus, continued to put up a brave fight.
"It really floored me," he said.
"I slept through a lot of it because I was so weak, and I thought I was coming near the end."
On Wednesday morning, the Lynch family received news they had been hoping for, but were surprised to hear.
"He rang me at around 9.30 and he said, 'I'm getting home,'" Connie told the Herald.
"The past few days the doctors had said he was doing incredibly well. They said he was fighting it off like a teenager, but he still couldn't believe it when they told him it was safe for him to go home."
In a triumphant exit from hospital on Wednesday, Paddy-Joe was pictured being wheeled through the exit doors of the hospital by a nurse, his hand held high in the air as he celebrated his return home.
"I'm beyond delighted to be home," he said.
"I just want people to know there is always hope. I know a lot of people my age are awful worried about this.
"When I first heard I had this virus, I never thought I would live to tell the story of how I beat it. I did beat it and there is no better feeling in the world right now."
For his granddaughter Anne, a front-line worker in University Hospital Galway, Paddy-Joe's return home has an added poignancy.
"I've seen first-hand how bad things get with his virus," she said. "For him to beat it, at his age, with his underlying health issues is nothing short of miraculous.
"He is a tough man, a hard worker and he is always on the go, but he was frightened by this and so were we.
"We are just so glad that he is home, that he is in better health and we want him to continue on that path."