Eily’s Report – 27th April

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

Our spell of glorious weather is still with us, what a wonderful thing to raise our spirits up as we head off into the merry month of May. It was always considered the to be the end of the cold and blustery weather and the start of long sunny days of Summer  to come. Mind you it didn’t always happen that way . In our young days we donned our little T-strap sandals, with the buckle  and colourful ankle socks, pastel cotton frocks and skipped off to school with school bags swinging. Off to meet our friends and admire their summer style as they admired ours. For a little while at least, going to school didn’t seem too bad and we would plan the picnics and walks that we would go on  later when the summer holidays came round. We’d even start saving for our picnic treats. A weekly amount would be fixed and one capable pal appointed to handle the cash. Usually it would be about a penny a week .I can still recall how it worked for a couple of us. Four of us got together and made our plan. One was from the town and she was deemed to be better at this kind of thing than the rest of us, so she was put in charge of the money and the shopping.  She also knew of a nice place, not far from town where we could indulge in our goodies. Someone brought a rug and we all sat round.  Our burser was able to afford lemonade, biscuits, a bun each and a bag of our favourite sweets, acid drops. After our feast we played hide and go seek, races, and others children’s games until it was time to head for home.  The memory of the fun and enjoyment of our first very own picnic is as fresh in my memory today as it was almost 80 years ago. Children could do that kind of thing that time. There was no danger from man or beast, also we were well aware of any peril around us. We wouldn’t go into a field of cattle especially if there was a bull on the loose and parents were happy in the knowledge that we would come home when we were good and ready.

 Cows were rarely left out at night until the end of April or the start of May. That was a time that made a big difference in our daily lives on the farm.   Since the previous month of October cows were tethered in their stalls almost twenty four hours a day. Or as they now 20/7. Dairy Farming was always a very demanding way of life. In summer cows were milked morning and evening without fail. But in winter when their lactation period had dried up the pregnant cows were kept indoors where they were cared for until the Spring. The hay which was lovingly saved with the help of  manpower and the  weather and stored into large sheds must now be drawn out again pike by pike and pushed into the narrow channel at the animals head. These building were relatively small and stuffy places and looking back now at the thought of it  they can’t have been the most healthy places for the precious cows to spend the long winter. They were allowed out once a day for water and a little exercise. Some people had a small field called a mock where the beasts were left for longer if the weather was suitable. While they were out the stalls had to be cleaned of all cow dung and wet bedding.  This went on every day, the seven days of the week and while the cleaning went on the heap of cow manure got higher and higher outside. Each day making it harder for the worker to heave the pike full over the pile. Recently we were looking at some old photographs and one young man remarked on the appearance of the people in it, both men and women. He said they were almost hungry looking, thin ,no big bellies, straight backs, heads erect. I could see what he meant but chose not to even try to explain the difference between life now and life then. The labour intensive days of long ago had their advantages too. When fitness was almost built in. Anyway to go back to the cows. Was it any wonder that the people of the land looked forward to the month of May when animals got their freedom to roam the range, feeding themselves on rich pastures and stalls no longer had to be cleaned every day.

The month of May is regarded by many as the loveliest month of the year. The world is full of new growth and it’s appearance hasn’t be damaged by the work that has to go on on the land. Furze bushes are ablaze of rich yellow. They put on this show for us every year and even though it’s a plant that is always curtailed by  man and machine it doesn’t give up and gets  admired by many all the time. The hedges are white with blackthorn blossoms at the moment. Another great soldier of the wild which rarely comes in for any praise or comment and it sour sloes tick few people’s boxes yet they continue to demand their space in our hedgerows and at blossom time at least they add their own brightness to the scene. We can all recall the times when we dreamt of making Sloe Wine. Packed them into a bottle ,filled it with water and buried it in the ground for six weeks. Well that was the idea anyway but children being children, we could never resist the temptation to sneak a little check on it now and then, take a sip and agree that it needed more time. Alas by the end of the given time there was little left in the bottle other than a soggy sour smelling mess. And an accepted resolve to try again next year. The bluebells and the wild garlic and the bog roses all add their own flavour to the meadows on any balmy evening in May. An experience that shouldn’t be missed. By the walker who is fortunate to have the ability to walk or by the more mature who can drive out to a nice spot open the window and take some deep breaths. Aahhh.

Most of the people like me have now received their second jab which means that our likes can travel together in one car. This  will  give us the opportunity to explore wider horizons. Driving to see the sights can be all the more enjoyable if it can be shared with a friend. People who ventured out at the weekend found their trips most enjoyable. Some taking their own refreshments and drinks, others hoping to get some en route. On the whole it all seemed to go very well, except the old reliable loss of toilets. So be warned again.

I’m not sure of the number of places,  which have got the go-ahead to resume  their businesses. I know that hairdressers and their longsuffering clientele didn’t get the off yet. It must be the most “missed” service of them all. We all know that if the hair is right then I’m right and it is plain to see the big number of people who are eagerly awaiting the big chop and the dash of colour. They’ve been brave in their waiting and please God they won’t have to suffer for much longer .I passed another milestone in my life during the week. And I want to thank my wonderful Family for making my 88th so special. on April 24th. It’s a date that I share every year with my friend Joanne O’Riordan, also Enda Kenny and Johnnie McAvoy .

Next day April 25th   was the turn of Georgina who was not just celebrating her birthday but also the birth of her and Mark’s new baby, Fionn, a brother for her four year old twins Michael and Zoe and congrats to  Jonathon and Noreen Buckley at the Kilmeedy Castle, happy wedding anniversary.  Lots of things for us to celebrate all at once.

Even  with the month of May on our doorstep we must still keep an eye on our plants and seedlings. We had frost on Sunday night and who knows when it will strike  again. In our dilemma last year ,when we were new to covid and it was new to us, we surged ahead and tilled and planted ,the weather was very suitable and things grew like never before but alas along came Jack Frost and ruined our dreams. But being the great triers that we are we planted again and enjoyed the fruits of our labour later in the year.

There is no scarcity of food outlets in our town. The Day Centre, supplies freshly cooked dinners, meals on wheels or to collect five days a week.  Give them a rind 029 70926 if you’d like to get details of their great service. The Wallis Arms Hotel has food to suit all tastes, hot fresh cooked dinners can be ordered for small or large groups and collected at great value for money. We have pizza place and kebab house and the lovely Kall and Dyyne in the Square.

And things are looking up on the tourism scene. I got word from Jim O’Sullivan the pioneer of the mighty Bearra Way  to say that a team of consultants have been appointed to further develop that great walk with lots of cash to back them up.  Jim has put his heart and soul into what he believes will one day be our very own Irish Camino.  Here in Millstreet we have him to thank for the building of the long awaited bridge across the Blackwater at Dooneen. Communities along the way are asked to do all in their power to make their place as attractive and welcoming as possible for visitors and avail of the spoils when the world comes to life again after covid. Some of our younger members of our Community Council are already involved in putting together the list of all that Millstreet has to offer it’s a work in progress and one which will need all our support.

Sean Radley’s shows can not be missed ,on Sunday’s after 11.30 Mass and on Tuesday nights from 9.30 on Cork Music Station. Sean never fails to connect our people in different parts of the globe. Gathering them all under his mantle of music and snippets of news and chats with interesting people.

I was asked to mention  ,that there is no sign on the Killarney Road  for Tubrid Well and patrons are finding difficult to source it.

We still have no confirmation about the opening of our Church for Mass. We have all sorely missed our life long ritual of going to Mass . It’s not easy for us, but must be even more difficult for our priests who have to face an empty edifice every time .Our deepest sympathy goes this week to those who have lost loved ones ,and we offer our prayers  for all those who are sick or worried about their health.

A gold necklace was found in the Town Park last Sunday.

Contact 087 7645114  for information.

Please continue to take good care, stay safe.

Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir.

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