Eily’s Report 2nd February

Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my weekly report.

 The first of Spring, St. Bridget’s day, birds  building their nests, people building their houses, flowers forcing their way up through the ground, my goodness, life is taking off at a fierce  rate. I’m tempted to say stop, slow down, all of these things deserve their own space in the normal scheme  of things. February the first dawned mild and soft with the sun emerging out through the hazy clouds. It was everything that the first day of Spring should be and how lovely it was to take a stroll in the garden, get the feel of Spring, then go around and  throw out a searching eye in an effort to see what is coming to life. The little crocus as always is plainly seen in its vivid purple coat, I have a tub of bluebells, why they’re in a tub I’ll never know, but they are and judging by their strong green leeks it won’t be long before they carry out their annual duty to please the passing eye. Do birds miss our presence in the out of doors. I’m sure they do. At least the little robin seems to anyway because whenever I go and spend some time outside he lands himself on the nearest  branch and turns up the volume on his sweet voice. So so lovely to listen to and when I’m coming in I get an almost guilty feeling to be deserting him. The saddest thing for me in Spring is that I don’t have many places for birds to build their nests. They come and search  but alas  they don’t seem to like the places that I can give them and I can’t give them the places where they would like to set up home. Last year I gave them free reign and wound up having to cover the lawnmower etc in the closed shed. This time I’ll have to keep that place closed. But maybe I’ll still be able to find them another roosting place before their building season takes off in earnest.    There is a doubt if the first of February ,is in fact the first day of Spring. Everybody is saying it but I’m not a bit sure. I think that this year ,we are all so anxious to get on with the year, and leave Winter  far behind, that we’re willing  to give February away to spring. It’s being widely debated at the moment, and who am I to set the record straight.

The Feast of St. Brigid.  The farmer’s daughter who became a saint.  She is the nearest saint we had after St. Patrick, Mary of the Gael. A rural saint, and  how often her help was invoked during the Spring  in rural Ireland, when new births were occurring all over the place. Cows calving, sheep lambing, hens ,and all sorts of fowl hatching. The little Bridgeen cross was hung up diligently as humble people put their wholehearted trust in their beloved St. Bridget. At Mass on Monday morning there was a box of St Bridgets crosses on the alter, they were blessed by Fr. Paddy and left for people to take home. It won’t be possible for us all to renew our crosses this year because of the present situation but  we have the firm belief that the one that brought us safely  in 2020 will carry us on safely through the year ahead.

Today Tuesday February 2nd is Candlemas Day. In former years the shops in the town would  have a supply of wax candles in stock, ready for Candlemas Day when people would bring some along to the church to be Blessed. Leaving some to be used on the alter for the year ahead and taking one home.  Nowadays people give donations towards the cost of candles for the alter and they can be dropped  in at the Parish Office.  No home was complete without a blessed candle to be used in the home if someone had to be anointed or lit when someone was dying. It would be lit during a bad bout of thunder and lightening, or any other scary happening. Outside of the home it was used for many things such as to bless the cow and her new calf and so on and quenched right away and rolled up in brown paper and safely stored until it was needed again.  People are invited to have their wax candles ready at home ,this evening, when they will be blessed virtually at the 7.30 Mass.

Tomorrow, Wednesday is the Feast of St. Blaise. The very special day  for the blessing of the throats.  Again this  important ceremony will have to be held behind closed doors. But I’m sure the Good Lord will grant his blessings anyway to all those who genuinely seek his help.  Throats will be blessed at the 10am Mass on Wednesday morning.

Mass on Thursday 4th, morning at 10  and on Friday evening there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 7 to 7.30 followed by Holy Mass. It is indeed a very busy and devout week in our church and please give it your best attention in these perilous times.

We got a new copy of the 029 Fastfinder delivered to the door this past week. The last one I have is dated 2015. Over the years the local Fasfinder has remained a classic publication. When Denis brought it out first, times were very different. We didn’t have so many ways of communicating there was no press button method of looking up a number so the 029 was the fastest way. The copy of it was always at hand. On the table or near the tv in a place where it could be found in the shortest possible time. It was also the best place to find a tradesman or any other service that you may need. Times have changed a lot with time and it’s hard to imagine that we are still the same people amid all that has gone on. But whatever about the differences, somethings still remain unchanged. I love to see the new Fastfinder coming. The beautiful finish, the glossy pages, the colourful adds and no matter how things have changed, I still consult the local 029 many many times.      Thanks Den.

We must applaud our dedicated Monuments committee. They never fail to pay tribute and commemorate those great people who gave their lives for our country. When I saw their picture on our web recently, I was proud of the way they  forged ahead to set up the scene at our town Square and at Ballydaly in spite of the shortage of numbers due to Covid19 restrictions. I’m very interested in history and especially  our local history. There is an article based on it in Irelands Own every week, and last week the account was from an interview with the late great Sean Moylan and it touched on things that happened not  so far from here. To read of the sacrifices that were made by the people of that time. Poor people with no education or wealth, but just a longing to own their own country.  So it’s great that we have people like our monuments committee nowadays who are determined to keep their sacrifices and  memory alive, lest we forget.

We are very short of any sort of entertainment on the ground but  there are lots to be had on line. Some play Bridge, some fix a time to phone-a-friend and settle down for a chat over a cup or glass of something ,no matter how far apart   they may be in the world . The secret is to grab any relief that can be got to alleviate  loneliness or depression. Groups are being formed all the time, and this week on Facebook I discovered the likes, where a number of my friends are having a rousing singsong on Saturday nights. Members are from various parts of the country ,all with the same taste in music and song. People who haven’t met since Covid began and now the joy of seeing one another again in one streaming unit knowing each other good enough to say sing the one you sang or always sang in the past. It makes me feel like dressing up. Some I know have come through some sadness in the last while but now are being lifted out of the blues by meeting and singing with old friends again.  Buíochas le Dia

I got a couple of those free post cards which An Post gives out from time to time and sent them off to people I wouldn’t normally contact, in the hope that it will brighten up their day.

  As I say, every string has to be pulled to help each other over the trials of Covid19. Fast food outlets are working flat out as people treat themselves to different dishes, and our Meals on Wheels Service continues to cook up fresh dinners five days a week. Help in at hand by ringing  087 7932736 or 087 6380053 where a panel of volunteers are ready to assist you with any problem that you may have.

Search YouTube for the many new items of entertainment that has been put on line by Paddy Murphy and need I mention Sean Radley’s hours of joy  on Cork Music Station after 11.30 Mass on Sundays and from 9.30 to 11 on Tuesday nights. Tell your friends in any part of the world and they can avail of these wonderful shows, just a well as those at home.

Please pray earnestly for those of our community who are ill especially  those who are in hospital and We offer our deepest sympathy to the families who have lost loved ones recently.

Take care,my friends, Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir

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