Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde, and welcome to my weekly report.
Fondest greetings everyone and welcome to the Month of August. I’m feeling tired today following a busy bank holiday weekend. The beauty of Beara never fails to draw my away at the least excuse and the past weekend was no exception. I know that Ireland is full of similar beautiful attractions, but I have no family connection with them and I know that if people who go there were to give a written account of their travels then mine would be only just another item on the list. Since the opening up of the Wild Atlantic Way some of the hidden gems which were inaccessible in the past are now being presented in their best light to the visitor. Winding little boreens which were just sheep paths initially were upgraded to allow tour buses campers and cars to reach the outer limits and they didn’t take all the turns away either but left them there to further enhance to journey. Travelling those bends ,opens up new scenery all the time , the sea, the rocks ,the sky providing an ever changing view as you go. Scenic cross country walks have also been established for the more energetic. It didn’t take enterprising people long to recognise the potential of meeting this new development head-on by opening up hospitality services in places never before even considered for the purpose.
I was glad that the popular Bantry Fair coincided with my trip and it was an added bonus that we were there on the last Friday of the Month which is always bigger than those held on other Fridays. We all love an outdoor Fair, and when the weather is fine, which it was, it made it all the more enjoyable ,with lots more to see lots of different people making up the crowd. The overall colours of the tents ,and stalls creates an atmosphere of excitement in itself. And the variety of things for sale was a wonder in itself. Not everybody wore a mask, though some did. A bargain could be had if you were a good judge of what you were interested in. It was plain to see that lots of folks were in to do their weekly shopping for fresh fruit a vegetables home-made cheeses, jams and eggs. Free tasting was there for the taking and the whole Square reeked with the beautiful aroma of steaming pancakes, hot dogs and newly made and coffee or cool drinks to wash them down. Having done the round of the town it was great to sit at a picnic table outside a busy cafe and get served a refreshing mug of coffee and a bun. I suppose it was because we’ve been tied down for so long that I felt the newness of it all, maybe our cautious newfound freedom making us more appreciative of what we once found just ordinary.
Needless the say the town was busy traffic-wise. But I was almost dumb-founded to see how the passing thoroughfare is managed. Castletownbere in the biggest fishing port in the country and every day the huge refrigerated fish lorries pass through the local towns taking the fruits of the sea to ports for export to the finest hotels and restaurants in Europe and beyond. Going through Bantry must be a nightmare not just for the drivers but also for the people who live in the town. On entering the town I could not but be taken by the narrow winding streets. Cars having to be careful, so when I saw the huge Juggernauts negotiating the same route I was surprised to say the least. The Drivers had to mount the winding footpaths along the way leaving the window sills of the rows of houses, mere inches away. Phew.
On my travels it was great to see so many people out and about, giving the impression that maybe things are getting better and the fine weather playing a big part in the enjoyment of it all. The Beara Festival was on with regattas off the pier in the town of CastlretownBere, while out in rural areas local bodies organised functions which were right for their people. Races for little children right up to adults , with medals both for winners or losers. Races even for sheep, with lots of cash to be made to the local football Club by placing a bet. The fact that they didn’t have a local stream ,didn’t stop them having duck races. A primitive canal type waterway made to all the more enjoyable ,and the support so great that the numbers had to be run off in sections. Everybody comes home to run the annual Fest in Adrigole. Big business people holding down prestigious careers in cities dress in knee length shorts and runners to play their part for their home community. The pop-up bar providing well earned pint for thirsty workers and loads of home baking to sweeten the tooth. I viewed it all from the comfort of Geraldine’s Jeep and when 6.30 came I got the Saturday evening Mass from my own beloved Millstreet Church with Canon John on my phone. I felt there was little difference between me attending Mass and the busy scene in front of me. Those coming with the home baking, the lads preparing the make-shift runway for the duck race, the stewards putting up the signs and the lads arriving with trailers of sheep for the races after they had rounded them up from the surrounding hills and lots more. Surely they were doing God’s work in their own way as is done in my own home parish of Millstreet and many other places around the country, where volunteers give of their time and expertise for the good of their own place. There would be nothing about their efforts in the six-o-clock news, nor making headlines on the papers and what a pity it is that voluntary work like this don’t get more publicity. But I know that those who volunteer don’t do it for the publicity, but for the good inner feeling they get from helping others. One little five-year-old little girl didn’t win her race because as she was doing well, she waited back for her little friend thinking she was doing the right thing because she was always told to be kind and to help others. Well as I said, everybody got a medal, anyway. But she still couldn’t understand what she did wrong. Oh Dear me.
As working from home has become almost the norm due to Covid, more and more people are finding it possible to move away from city life and rural Ireland is fast becoming the “In Place” to be and rural property are starting to enjoy a new and more lucrative place on the market. All along the way to and from my destination at the weekend I could see many places which looked so derelict over the years being lovingly restored to new life. For years efforts have been made to restore and re-populate our rural places, very often to no avail. Resettlement programs were drawn up, with financial help on hand to make it work ,but it met with very little if none success and strange though as it seems it has taken the scourge of Covid itself to bring it to fruition. I had the pleasure of meeting some who relocated to their home sod from GB. Bought a lovely home in Bearra because they read my report every week when they lived in London and I want to wish them God’s Blessing and the Best of luck in their new way of life.
I found a new word the other day. Duchenne, maybe everybody knows it but ‘twas new to me. A Duchenne Smile is when you’re smiling with your eyes and how we’ve grown to search for it. Masks come in many colours and shapes some in the common blue others clearly bought on line and the shops stock them in every shape and hue. Of course not everybody puts them on the same. Some donned with great care and thinking, others slapped on going into the shop at the last minute. I’m afraid I’m not getting much better at the art of recognising my acquaintances by their duchenne smile and with corresponding so limited, it’s a pity to miss out on the cupla focail when you meet in the shop. Close friends you recognise right away by the way they dress or the colour of their hair, though lots of hair has changed dramatically colour also with the arrival of the pandemic adding to your confusion. But now that more instore eating has been allowed we will have more time to study those around us renew old friendships and make up for lost time. How lovely it is to see more pubs open also and we dearly hope that nothing will happen to force them to put up the shutters again.
The evenings are getting dark much earlier, especially when the skies are overcast and rain is on the way. Gardens are taking on an oldish appearance, with many shrubs and plants letting us know that their work is done for another year and are ready to rest a while before the real Autumn sets in. Still there is a lot to look forward to when overgrown hedges are trimmed and tidied up they will expose other hidden gems which got no chance to flourish during the full growing season. The Virginian creeper is on its way to the highest points where it can light up every wall and hedge or roof with a blanket of bright red foliage to entertain us for weeks or maybe months. Homegrown peas and carrots are still a treat at the moment, going straight from the earthen beds and stems to the pot. I haven’t tried my potatoes yet. The ones in the shops are balls of flour and will keep me happy until I’m brave enough to delve into my own few stalks and see what Mother Nature has produced. Gardening has to be the saving grace of a whole lot of people of my own ilk. For a few bob from the pension we have lots of people available to do the hard jobs like cutting the grass and trimming the shrubs and maybe planting a new tree or bush, the rest is a God given hobby which takes us out in the fresh air , listen to the birds singing and the bees buzzing . A comfy well placed seat keeps you at peace while looking at something that caught your eye. Or maybe to plan some change that you’d like to make, or say a silent prayer. Trivial as they may sound, these things are very important when you’re no longer young. It fills the mind with things to do and keeps the family from worrying about you ,while they get on with their own busy lives . We’re at a stage in life where naturally we’ve never been before and while in young life your future is full of plans for school, education, a career ,providing a home ,getting married, rearing children, sharing your experiences with colleagues ours is different and while a huge burden is lifted from us our duty to ourselves and to those around us is to learn to live and go on living as an elder, until we die. Our greatest asset as always being our Religion and our trust in God. Remaining upbeat and flexible, always ready to learn more while holding on to the abilities that we have could be the answer or part of anyway. Believe me I’m not being morose, just practical.
Here are the results of this weeks Lotto draw which was held on Bank Holiday Monday night. Numbers drawn were,1,2,16,22,and the Jackpot was not won. €100 went Pat Corkery, Of Corkery’s Bar. Pat was also the seller and got €50 sellers prize. €50 went to James and Teresa Cronin, Kilmeedy. €20 each to Isabelle Behan, c/o Jimmy O’Leary, Kelly Spillane c/o Colemans, Catherine Cleary, c/o the Bush Bar. Mary O’Keeffe, the Tanyard, Jerry O’Donoughue, c/o Mike Healy, Michelle and Buddy, c/o of the Camogie Club, Martina O’Donoughue, Rathcoole, and Joan Cremin, Drishane View. Next Draw will be on Sunday August 8t.h Jackpot €14,400. Tickets now on sale in pubs as well as shops in the town and Guerins Shop in Ballydaly.
Please look up our website every day to stay in touch with all the happenings around the parish and beyond. Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir