Older people can't allow COVID-19 "to steal more years" from them, the Chief Medical Officer has said.
In an open letter to older people in Ireland, Dr Breda Smyth said "while necessary public health measures helped curb the spread of the virus, they had far-reaching consequences for us all."
"Those who suffered illness or loss of life paid the highest price," she said.
"However, all of us shared the burden as we stayed at home and stopped doing many of the things that bring joy to our lives".
The letter is part of the Department of Health's new multi-media campaign, 'Hello Again World', which is aimed at combating loneliness and isolation among older people.
'We are in a better place'
Dr Smyth said the request for older people to stay at home in the early stages of the pandemic "was made to protect you."
"In doing as you were asked, you will have missed out on family moments, or precious time with friends and neighbours [and] doing the things you always enjoyed.
"No one should underestimate the impact of this isolation or the sense of loneliness that comes from the sudden disconnect from family and community," she said.
Dr Smyth urged older people to get back to doing the things they love.
"We know that many people still feel apprehensive about getting out and about,” she said.
"So, I would like to offer my reassurance that today we are - thankfully - in a much better place.
"We have access to safe, effective vaccines. We know these vaccines save lives and help protect us from the worst effects of COVID-19.
"If you haven’t yet returned to doing the things that you love, I am encouraging you to do so now.
"Spend time with grandchildren, re-join local clubs or activities or get involved in your local community.
"All of us can play our part, by reaching out to the older people in our lives," she added.