Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my report.
The Month of August is inching along and we are still wondering what has hit us. It’s a good job that we didn’t hear about it beforehand, we’d say that we could never cope with a global virus but we are showing that we can and le cúnamh Dé we will. I’m just back from a few days break and it was wonderful. One of the days saw me at the lovely seaside in Garryvoe which is only about a thirty minute drive from Cork City. The weather was delightful and having a lively little four year old with us we joined with a friend who has a house down there and who also had a couple of youngsters of around the same age it was a joy to see them splashing and falling in the tide while I did what I do best on such occasions, take a long walk on the beach. Looking out at the sea and the sun dancing on the waves, it was easy to forget about Covid 19. I’m always fascinated by the colours of the stones on beaches. All different sizes, different colours, all rounded and smooth. And as I make my way along, I have to pinch myself now and then to bring myself back as it were to the real world and take in the sights instead of going along with my head down looking at the ground the whole time. Needless to say I never leave the beach without a few special stones, well, the ones that I thought special anyway. Every beach seems to have it’s own variety of coloured pebbles, some green, others blueish but the ones at Garryvoe were different to any I’ve ever seen. They looked pinkish with blood red veins running through them. So I couldn’t stop myself from bringing a couple away with me. Oh dear, already I can hear people saying that’s against the law, you’re not supposed to do that. So I stand accused, but if that’s my greatest sin, then we’ll leave it to God. There is a story in every little pebble on the beach. All so roundy and polished. You can’t help wondering ,what was it like to begin with. It never started out like this, did it break off of a mighty rock during the Ice Age in the other side of the world and was it kicked, tossed and grounded among the rest of the stones of the world until it was washed up on Garyvoe beach and retire there till the end of time. Not unlike the story of our own lives really. No wonder I love the beach, it seems to talk to me ,and pose questions for me to ponder on.
My next couple of days took me to what has become almost my second home . Adrigole on the Beara Peninsula, a land and people, of unbelievable beauty and history and wonder. Again blessed by favourable weather, Geraldine and Mick spared no effort to pack as much as they possibly could in the next two days. The effects of the pandemic were made evident in every town and village by the closed signed displayed on many a hotel, cafe and pub. But aside of all that there was real feeling of holidays in the air. Staycation was plain to see by the vast number of campers on the roads, some very big, others not so big,but everybody with their own ‘bed’ in tow just the same. Number plates telling that the whole country both north and south were here. Picnics abound and on Beara Peninsula the Wild Atlantic Way takes the traveler to the edge of the sea in many places, exposing little beaches where the tourist could park up, take the little ones for a dip to cool off and perhaps a swim for themselves, have a snack before heading off again.
One enterprising family who were very successful in the pub business in Cork City,decided a couple of years ago to up sticks and relocate to their native Beara where they opened a beautiful cafe and a massive caravan park at the back. Having finished our evening meal there, el fresco, which we had booked from the previous day. The owner gave us the code for the caravan park and invited us to go and see it. In the evening sun it was sheer bliss to drive round and see all the tourists as they sat out some cooking others sipping their wine, but all having a wonderful time. This was a scene that was repeated in many more places. I found it hard at times to think that I was only a little more than two hours from home. You couldn’t help wondering ,how many of them would be here but for Covid 19. How many had suffered the disappointment of a cancelled foreign holiday and yet here they were, laid back in utter contentment and not a plane in the sky. Ireland is getting a wonderful opportunity to show itself off this year with the fine weather playing it part. In Castletownbere, it was an ordinary working day, with juggernauts leaving the biggest fishing port in the country with massive loads to fish destined for the European market.The one thing that stood out in my travels, was social distancing. It was strictly observed all the time. But there’s always one. As we dined in the open air a smart restaurant one evening, a lovely family were dining a safe distance away. Comprising of grandparents, parents and three little boys of about 7, 8 and 9. All went grand during the meal but when they got up to leave the parents went inside to pay etc while the rest got themselves ready to leave. One of the little lads who was more spirited than the other two started running around. So the loving granddad caught him and said not to be running around because there was a terrible bug around etc, etc, but he was having none of it. Pulled himself free and off he went running around things while the granddad tried to maintain face in front of the other customers and stop him, but he couldn’t and returned to his wife at their table, red faced, his composure in bits and snarled “Geeeze, I’ll Kill ‘im”. There’s always one.
We have reached the last days of summer and while it is still not the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, there is an abundance of vegetables and fruits ready to harvest. If you remember the Spring came very early and sent us all in search of things to plant while we tried to take in the rules of Covid19. Some of what I planted that time got frosted later, but now later again a lot of them recovered. This is a great time for deadheading and taking cuttings. Don’t throw away the dead heads. I had some very early violas this year and I threw the dead heads on flower beds and on my new lawn and so on ,now I have an array of multi-coloured surprises coming up in the grass and in cracks on the patio. And they look lovely. Many tubers will have to be divided. Plant your surpluses in unusual places perhaps beside an old wall or the roadside at a safe moment. The blackberries are ready to eat. Some people like to make jam while others like to squash them up add a spoon or two of sugar and have them for dessert.They can be frozen and make a lovely addition the a sweet dish in the heart of winter.
As I mentioned last week the Lotto is coming back. Having been on lockdown since last March, it won’t be easy to get it back on it’s feet. Like Covid itself we are all in it together and we are asking everybody to row in behind those who are working on the frontline. The local lotto is extremely important in our town. For over twenty five years it has been the lifeline of our town. It’s benefits are immense. Take a look at our Town Park and see all the features that have been added to it in that length of time and even with the cancellation of all sport,the town park is a haven of tranquility to all those who take their walks there every day. Some returning more than once. There are very few people in Millstreet who do not benefit from the local lotto one way or another. There is great co-operation between the three beneficiaries of the lotto, the Town Park, the Local GAA and the Community Council for the Youth Centre. If one section has a project to complete which they can’t afford, then the other partners give over their share so that they don’t have to borrow from the bank. None of the workers at the helm gets paid.There are certain running costs, such tickets, and stationery, and every detail is accounted for at the annual AGM.
The Lotto will resume at the Wallis Arms Hotel this Sunday night August 16 at 9.30 and all business will be conducted there for now by kind permission until the pubs reopen. There will be a draw for €8,400 jackpot on Sunday night. This draw was scheduled for last March but the lockdown prevented it from being held. Tickets for the following week’s draw will be distributed among sellers at this meeting.
The organisers will make social distancing their top priority and all the rules for safety will be strictly adhered to, so that our important fundraiser will continue its great work for Millstreet, le cúnamh Dé
It was a lovely touch on our website this week ,when Sean displayed the picture of a little brown bird and asked viewers if they knew what was its name and right away came the answer all the way from Down Under from that great Millstreet man Francie Duggan to say it was a little Robin who still hadn’t got his red breast. Lovely.
Tune in to Sean’s variety Program on CMS tonight from ten to 11.30 .and his request from after Mass on Sundays is a must.
We have some kind local people who want to fundraise for the Cork Penny Dinners. Contact numbers if you’d like to help are 0872144371 or 0876827127.
Our Men’s Shed are keeping busy at the moment with a new and exciting project.
Many others are patiently waiting for the weekly 45Drive and coffee mornings etc. to resume but safety first, they’ll have to wait a little longer. In the meantime please keep up the prayers that the great work that we are doing to keep the bug at bay will continue. Have a good week ,Slán.