May 5th And we’re off, the lockdown is lifted. Well a little anyway for people of my own vintage. We are now allowed to go 5 km from base. What will it mean. For one thing it means that we are stepping into another phase of our lives. Will it be called our life after the cocoon in our history books. We are on lockdown since before St. Patrick’s Day. Like most others, I never went outside my own gate since then, never drove my car, didn’t go to a shop, or church or the Town Park. Didn’t meet a friend for coffee, or buy any new style, any of the everyday things that we have taken for granted all our lives. It was the rule and we adhered to it. What will our lives be like as a result. We will have to exercise great care, being off the road for such a long time will surely have played on our ability to drive safely again. It is so important that we don’t spoil our newfound freedom by having a mishap. The world knows it has been a strange and abnormal happening, but necessary of course. I passed from the age of 86 to 87 during that time and in all my years have never thought that I and the whole world around me would become part of history at this part of my life for all the wrong reasons. History has taught us that there have been plagues in the past and they make sensational reading but they were long gone destined to the history books for anybody who would take the trouble to read about them. We are the history makers now and up to now we are fortunate to have a government and medical crew who are guiding us through it as best they can keeping in mind that the Corona Virus is as new to them as it is to us.
What will it be like as we try to ease ourselves back into life outside the home. It won’t be easy to pass the shop or a friend’s house or hug somebody especially the grandchildren or someone who has been aggrieved and couldn’t have a normal funeral or go to the church. What of the things that have kept us going all through the past number of weeks. Will the garden get the same loving attention? What about my 1,000 piece jigsaw? I’m only half way there yet. But then a friend told me that hers was on the table for a whole year, so why hurry? As time goes on other sections of the community will be allowed to back to work under strict instructions which will pose lots of problems for them. As for me I think that total lockdown was easier than partial but then we can’t stay locked up for ever. Our Church services were amazing and still are. We can tune in to Mass in any part of Ireland, America, Rome to name but a few. And what a comfort they bring. History was surely made on May Eve, when Fr. Kenneally blessed the all important Holy Water over the airways at evening Mass in Boherbue which enabled us to bless our homes and boundaries and crops as we have done all our lives on May Eve with the new Holy Water. I still recall as a child going around the land with my Dad on balmy evenings on the Eve of May Day wading through the long rich grass heavy and wet with dew, the fact that we’d be all wet didn’t matter and he would whisper a prayer as he sprinkled the blessed water on his precious crops and bounds ditches to warn off any evil spirits or piseogs that may ruin our land for the coming season. At the same time checking gates and gaps and fences in preparation for letting the cows out on the green pastures. Sometimes there might be a thorny fence that needed to be opened but he’d make short work of it by getting out his matches and setting it alight. How we loved the smell of the burning furze and briars and to see the smoke wafting along the valley as the sun was going down. On the way home there was always the chance of spotting a little rabbit or a bounding hare or even a sly fox which gave us great stories to tell the others when we got home. Memories are made of this. Our Holy Water for May Eve 2020 which was blessed over the airwaves is another item that will go down in history.
New things, problems keep coming up all the time as a result of the present situation. With charity organisations well up there among them. A friend tried to donate to a worldwide organisation lately based in Dublin but alas it couldn’t be taken because the lady said that they were all working from home and she couldn’t take credit card details as a result. They took her details and will contact her as soon as they get back to working in the office.
What can I say, what can anybody say after watching Sean Radley’s wonderful program on our staging of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993. The story blanks everything else from the mind. To look at it all again it seems somehow not true, a fantasy an impossible dream. But it did happen, and looking at it again, no one can blame us for being proud, proud at achieving the impossible dream. To see the way that Millstreet was taken apart and remodelled. The bad bends at Keim, Ballydaly, Drishane, straightened in preparation to host the mighty Eurovision Song Contest. I suppose its hard not to grieve after the laid back way of life that we had then, the friendly pubs, the local music, the obvious closeness in our Community which we seem to have lost. But don’t let it spoil the memories of the glittering days of Eurovision and all the other world class events that came to the mighty Green Glens. Many thanks to Sean for bringing it all back. It was wonderful, not just for the good of our folks at home but the many Millstreet people who will see in other countries. Well done to Noel C. for making it all possible.
Don’t forget to tune in to Cork Music Station on line tonight from 9.30 to 11. Sean Radley has kindly asked me to join him for some music and musing which is broadcast all over the world on line from 9.30 to 11 every Tuesday night.
The weather though lovely can be rather dry, especially for newly planted items. They need watering even after rain sometimes. The lockdown has led to a massive increase in the number of people putting their hands in the blessed earth this year, and the long spell of fine weather made the task very inviting. We are told we could get frost up to the end of the month, so keep an eye on your phone which will tell you when frost is due and don’t forget that the planting season goes on for ages yet so if you haven’t started you’re still not too late. Oh dear I’ve just seen on my phone that there is talk of keeping us locked in until August but I think it’s over ruled. Better get out there before they change their mind. Where ARE my Keys?
Agus sinn a bhfuil a chairde, slán is beannacht Dé libh go léir. [f]