LONDON, ONT. -- Irish eyes were smiling Wednesday and so was Mother Nature as dozens of residents from McCormick Long-Term Care Home on Kains Road got outdoors to enjoy the sun, music and dancing on St. Patrick’s Day.

“Everything was nice, everything was nice,” said Margaret Tenhaaf, 96, who lives at McCormick.

Her son Harry Tenhaaf was with her for the festivities saying, “Being outside in the sunshine is great, they've been cooped up too long but for good reason, but we're just happy today.”

He says it’s been a tough year for all but especially those in long-term care facilities.

“They don't get to see many people and a gathering like this, although socially distanced, I think it will pick up their spirits."

The St. Patrick’s Day event was organized by the London Irish Canadian Cultural Society, a group of people who just want to help out.

“Over the last several months we've been planning different events to give back to the community,” says Gerry Slattery from the society. “I think COVID-19 brought a lot of emotion to the surface and so things have come together really well and we will do more.”

For many of the residents at McCormick there's a couple of reasons to celebrate, not only is it St. Patrick’s Day, but this is also the first time they've been outside as a group in over a year.

“This has been an incredibly long year and the residents have shown such resiliency,” says Tanya Pol, an administrator at McCormick. “But I think being out in the fresh air today in the sunshine and being able to experience some joy, they will be on cloud nine for the rest of the day.”

And Slattery says they want to this day to be known for more than just drinking green beer.

“St. Patrick's Day is about family and it's about community and so we want to make sure that message gets delivered to McCormick home residents and the community.”