Eily’s Report – 20th April

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

The weather is pleasant and there is a good feeling  in the air.

The vice-like grip of Covid19 is beginning to loosen a little and we are only waiting for the moment when it’s shackles can be put away for good. The people at the top who have herded us for the past year and a half must be feeling that it was all worthwhile. No doubt they came in for a lot of slack, and when you think of it their task was enormous, almost impossible. It was their job to put a stop to a world gone mad. We had reached heights that surpassed anything the world had ever seen before and yet were we happy. No not really. There was pressure on everybody to be even  better, the less well-off spent all their time trying to catch up with the  ones who got rich quick. In spite of all the affluence, we still had poor people but their plight could hardy be seen. There was no-one to say, stop you have enough. A rise in pay or status, meant that you had to have a bigger and better house, a more expensive car yet another foreign holiday every year, all of which landed you down even worse off than you were before getting that well paid career which was going to tick all your boxes. The humble wage-earner was better off in the end because every penny had to be watched ,big expenses had to be avoided and the simple life turned out to be the right one after all.

And so back to where I started, about the task it was for our doctors, politicians, health-care workers and so on to get the message across and say Stop. There was a killer on the loose and it could strike anywhere anytime.  but by then the snowball was at top speed running down the  slope. To quote a line from the famous poem called the Kerrigan Brothers, “The Road Down Hill was the Slippery Road and That was the Road We Went.”. Common sense gone out the window.  Sure there was a cure for everything ,these days . It will be alright. In any case the world must go on. Factories must function, services must be run, planes must fly or dear, dear, but they didn’t, and It all had to Stop.   It was the unenviable task of the people at top to say it and enforce it.  Their relations with the public changed almost every day. One day they were loved by all and praised for the way they spoke. For instance  the almost fatherly way that Leo Varadcar broke the news officially for the first time.   Next day  they  could be the world’s worst and calls made for them to  step down. The sacrifices that they made in their own private lives were immence. Think of Dr. Simon Harris, when  noisy protestors gathered outside his home just days after his wife gave birth to a new baby and the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Holorhan, who soldiered on for us in spite of the fact that his beloved wife was dying of cancer which she finally did. There has to be many other stories of courageous services carried out in silence by those involved in the care of covid 19 patients and now that we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, we have to hand it to all those who made these days possible. May the Good Lord Reward them all.

And now what are going to do with our new-found freedom? Already there is an upsurge in the volume of traffic on the roads. Schools have reopened, food outlets finding ways to serve their customers in safety. People of my caliber have time to watch it all emerge and stay off the beaten track because those who have been held up all this time will be like dogs out of the trap as they strive to make up  lost time.  But aside of any age or circumstance, we would all do well to be extra careful  when behind the wheel. On the radio they related many instances of people having accidents or near misses, because of their long time away from driving. Fair play to the Government, they are making many efforts to finance improvements which can be made in the development of rural areas. Chief Executive Of Cork County Council Tim Lucey said  the  €17 million Nationwide Scheme from Failte Ireland for outdoor dining aims to support tourism and the hospitality sector and help businesses to flexibly meet consumer demand. Cork businesses can now apply for grants of up to €4,000, under the outdoor seating and accessories for tourism  and hospitality business. This outdoor dining scheme will benefit locals, help them to upgrade their premises and allowing businesses to offer safe year-round dining experiences.  Judging by these announcements we are in a good place coming out of Covid19. We are all entering a phase of new learning of trial and error experiences and a sense of determination to succeed, each of us in our own way to make our lives both fulfilling and enjoyable into the future.

It is  disappointing that with the many revelations to places returning to a guarded normal  way that we have heard nothing about the opening of our churches. Going to Mass in the church has been an important part of our lives since we were very young. Some people nowadays bring new born babies to Mass. It was not like that in our day. Where there were young children, parents went to  different Masses, so that there was always one at home to mind them. It was the duty of the one who went to first mass to cook the dinner while the others went to second and the smell of a beautiful cooking meal was always out the boreen to meet them coming . A memory that I will always treasure. We were about five years before being taken. There were two masses on Sunday mornings, 8.30 and 11.  Being farmers, Sunday mornings were very busy.  Cows had to be rounded up from the fields for milking  and returned to the field again  then the  donkey brought in from the field and very often the little beast would gallop off just as you approached him ,it all took time  and on Sunday morning there was little time for his rogueish pranks, it was the only morning that time was important because of Mass. When his trip to the creamery was done and the churns removed  the seven of us would all pile into the cart to go to mass and my Dad would go on his bike. Our Mam was in Heaven. Holy Communion was given out at first Mass only and you had to be fasting from food since mid-night. It was no notice to see people fainting at First Mass. They’d have worked hard to get through their chores and the rush to mass often took it’s toll. The Mass was always very important to us. Goodness knows we found the sermons long and in our young years didn’t understand their message. But we never thought of life without it. It came as natural for us to go to Mass or say the daily Rosary as it did to do the farm chores, or have our meals and go to school. We never questioned it, never said why? It was part of us and that was that and still is today. It’s often said now  that it is good to question your religion but I have no desire to do so. It has seen me through all my years so far and I have  no reason to question it now and I hope that in the very near future that our beloved church will be open for Mass as it  always did.   Who knows with all these outdoor dining facilities in town, we may be able to meet up with friends for a cuppa.

I wonder what will it like when we all meet up again. A ceremonial burning of masks may be a good place to start. My worry is that we have forgotten a lot of our times past. Things that we haven’t talked about for ages. For months now all we’ve said on one of our brief meetings with a friend is to say how awful it all is and rush off for fear of getting infected and what about all the good times that we’ve had surely we can’t close the book on them. We worked hard all our lives not just for our families but also for our communities and our parish. It didn’t all happen overnight, but day after day of striving to make Millstreet a better place  for all of us.  Fundraising, begging for grants so that another vital facility could be provided .   To look back on old photos and records will surely help us to recapture some of the glory days, when we were all together at some event or other. All happy to be part of  what a  precious community is.

Sadly our Beauticians and Hairdressers haven’t still got the go-ahead to resume business, They are eagerly awaited by their loyal customers and many a head is sporting overgrown ,multi coloured locks in the interim. every woman’s nightmare.

The people of Cullen brought their own place to life this week with all the pictures of their past on Facebook.  The lovely pic of the Queen and her late husband on our web looks so homely and natural . While the further pic of the lovely girl on horseback as part of the royal cavalry ,whose ancestors Han and Luke O’Keeffe lived at the Tanyard goes to prove that our people continue to reach great  and unusual ,heights all over the world.

Thanks to our wonderful Community Alert Project, we are all warned about leaving cars in isolated places such as mountain roads while going for a walk. Never leave valuables in your car. Because of the 5klm restrictions, many people drove to quite places, parked up and took a walk in the wild  but alas there is always someone who thinks nothing of spoiling it all for them. So be warned.

Now that we are a little more conscious of the world around us .perhaps it would be no harm to be more litter conscious. Please be careful and take your litter home. We are blessed to have a state of the Art recycling Centre. The staff are very helpful and the charge is small ,when compared to the wonderful service that they give.

The lovely soft rain and warm air of the past couple of days have brought many little seeds up through the earth and please God they will lift our hearts with beautiful  colour and aromas in the months ahead.

Please continue to  take care, wear your mask, wash your hands, we’re nearly there. Have a good week.

Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir. Eily.

1 thought on “Eily’s Report – 20th April”

  1. Eily, I was sorry to see you lost your mother so young in life.
    Grant eternal rest to all our mothers.
    Never forget your kindness on the school bus – Brigid xx

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