Eily’s Report – 21st September

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

Fondest greetings everybody,  as we sail into the third week of the ninth month, we can’t complain about the weather. It is calm and pleasant and rich. The greenness of the mountains and fields around us looks almost artificial and unreal. There seems to be an upsurge in the amount of land which has been newly reclaimed and re-seeded. In no time at all the naked earth is sporting their  new green coats, filling us with confidence for the future. I’m sure there are those who think I’m crazy to be so interested is such things, but once a person of the land, a person of the land forever.  The importance of the land can never be overestimated. In one way or another, everything we do or have is connected with it. It’s the raw material that God gave us to carve our lives out of. Everyone to their own, as children we found ourselves very different from our town and city cousins, a difference that made us feel inferior. Unkept, we even pronounced our words in a different way to  them and looking back now I can’t help but ask myself, why?  How come? Us rural folk seemed to use the letter H in too many places. For instance the word slap was pronounced Shlap, Skirt /Shkirt and so on. We also spoke with sort of a drawl and were often the butt of a townies joke as they nudged each other and winked at our quaint ways.

The funny thing about it was that when a rural boy or girl went into the town or city to take up a job, they wouldn’t be long there when they changed. Strange as it may seem, in a short time they found the folks at home a bit of an embarrassment if they came to visit. Then further on, when they fell in love, it was then that the real problem arose. A smitten lad or lass  bringing the lovely suitor home to meet the family.  Parents were much older that time and more set in their ways. They didn’t get the “place” over from their parents until they were perhaps in their fifties and the normal thing was that what’s good enough for them is good enough for us, or has to be. Very often a son at home didn’t even know if he was going to get the farm and wouldn’t dare ask, but hope on year after year.

The visit would be mentioned well in advance, and in the interim, hints would be dropped about how the old home could be smartened up a bit.  With the outhouses for cows and other livestock adjacent to the back door, well where would you start. Mother was usually the best one to start with, if you could get around her, she’d work on Dad. Above all get him out of that old working breeches with the smell of every thing in the yard on it and it worn half way up to his knees. The handknit gansy which saw better days and egg stains down the front of it. But  the Lad/Lass came and with some give and take on all sides, it was the start of many a happy and successful relationship. The new   In -Law got used to. or accepted, the way things were on the farm and the farmers ways.  In time the lad at home got the place and if it wasn’t too late, he got married while his siblings made homes for themselves in the towns or cities. Another generation came into the world and it was the joy of all urban children when schools closed in summer to escape to the country where the old people told them stories of old, pointed out where their ancestors were born and grew up and in many cases gave their very lives so that they can be part of the freedom of today. They showed them where the hens lay, sometimes out in the bushes and when darkness came down they showed them the night sky explained the plough and the stars to them and asked who can see the man in the moon. Then all in to say the Rosary before going to bed.  There was always something to get up for in the morning. A new calf may have been born, or perhaps the cat had her kittens up on the bench of hay and she had so many that there was one for each one to cuddle. It was all a learning process for them, without they even knowing  it. They got familiar with the feel of a cuddly kitten or puppy or lamb and how to make a good run from the gander or turkey cock. All of a sudden the mucky yard and smelly old yard clothes seem to fade into oblivion, there was just too much to be happy about. Back in their city school where they related all the happenings of their escape to the country instead of finding their story quaint or a bit weird, they all wanted some.

There was no mention of insurance of compensation back then, just a deep rooted sense of trust.  Accidents happened of course, but home treating and bandaging was an inbuilt thing. Cuts got a dip of iodine, applied with  a feather which was picked up off the yard and sprains were bandaged with a piece of cloth torn from an old sheet or pillowcase and fastened with a safety pin. An ugly looking injury which looked like it was going to fester got a warm poultice made of town bread and milk  wrapped in a strip of cloth and snugly wrapper around the wound. It worked every time. First Aid was taught in schools that time, never in our time.  During the war of Independence members of Cumann na mBan were also schooled in the care of injured people.

With the onset of education life in rural Ireland has changed to unbelievable lengths. Like in every other way of life, farmers retire now and hand over the reins to a son or daughter. There are no old farmers now, and  they have their pension and savings to live on. Savings were a big thing. A bit for the rainy day was vital.  They are youthful enough to go on holidays, visit family members in any part of the world. It’s a long way from a local old man, near here who declared on his death bed that he never went beyond the turn of Keim.

Doctors didn’t feature much in the lives of people that time. Babies were delivered by a local woman or District nurse who came on her bike. He was only called if someone was close to death. For one thing people were much healthier. However certain diseases ran in families, such as asthma or heart trouble, but again with modern medical care these problems no longer pose a threat. Then there were birthmarks, very few are allowed to remain today. In the past if somebody had any sort of unusual marking or  malfunction of a limb or a skin blemish, the old belief was that it was the Will of God  and would not allowed it to be treated. Doctors were even slow to interfere with them. When our first child was born in 1959 she had a wart like growth on the lid of her right eye. It was a worry as it grew as the child grew, so we took her to a doctor and his response was that it was trivial and wouldn’t do anything with it. A short time later we sought the opinion of another (younger) doctor and he sent her for radium treatment and it faded away. Over the years  the myth of a birthmark being the Will of God is dropped and  we have seen people lives enhanced considerably by the removal or treatment of a birthmark and I’m sure the Good Lord doesn’t mind.

The sad tale of a cat. A poor stray feline came to a sad end near here when he tried to gain entry to an outhouse, it had one of those windows with  the twist and turn opening and while attempting to get in he dropped into the V and couldn’t escape, did himself a terrible injury and had to be put to sleep. Sad as it was, he was only a stray but the same could happen to a treasured pet.

In my search for a certain kind of buttons recently I discovered that there is factory button Shop  in Pope’s Quay , Cork. not far from North Gate Bridge. I didn’t know the likes was there so maybe others  like to hear of it too.

The dream to making Millstreet an Age Friendly Town is a work in progress  and if we are to make that dream come true, we must remain alert and always be on the look  out for problem areas. I have an earnest request from the people of Minor Row asking the powers that be to come and look at the serious problems which they are experiencing. It’s a bottleneck in the busiest part of our town.   Some of our elderly people live there and have done all their lives but now find it almost impossible to go about their daily  lives. Speeding cars, huge juggernauts and deafening noise, all add to their frustration. Please help them.

Still with Minor Row, the Thrift Shop on the street is well worth a visit. It is run on real business lines with every garment hanging up, labelled, giving the size and price. They also have a fine selection of books and brick-a-brack. All proceeds go to our Sheltered Housing Complex. 45Drive in aid of same, every Tuesday night starting at 8.30. Come with a partner or come alone and you will get one. Admission €7.

All the activities of our Active Retirement Group are back on track. The popular Thursday morning Coffee is on at the Wallis Arms Hotel on Thursday mornings at 10.30. Be ready to show your Covid Cert. The weekly Swimming resumes on October 10th at 10.30.

Contact Mary for details 087 0537172.

Here are the results of the Lotto draw which was held on Sunday night. Numbers drawn were 7, 16, 21, 22, and the Jackpot was not won. €100 went to Donna and Annajean O’Reilly. The seller was Rita and she got €50 sellers prize. €50 went to Barry Lawlor, Liscahane. €20 each to Ger. Golden,c/o the Bridge Bar, Catherine Cronin, Stonefield, Niall OBrien, Ballydaly, James Broxton, Jnr. Carrigacooleen, Martin Murphy, Pound Hill, Ernesto & The Hot Otter, 15 Fairfield Rise, Derry Morley, c/o the Camogie Club and Eileen O’ Riordan, Tullig.

Next Draw September 26th. Jackpot €15,800.

Our lovely Church Choir attended the 11.30 Mass on Sunday, and Canon John welcomed them back. For the moment they are confined limited numbers but hope that they will be allowed operate in full in the near future.

If you want to see something lovely, then go along to our Town Park any time of day, where there is always some people enjoying the wonderful facility but in the evening when there is a match on or training of many teams is in progress, it is a wonderful sight. If you’re like me, just sit in your car and admire.

Sin a bhfuil, a chairde.  Have a good week. Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir.

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