Eily’s Report – 11th May

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

It may be raining and windy outside, but the sun is shining in our hearts. To get the word Go after four months of semi-lockdown is surely a reason for us to be glad. We went to Mass in our beloved Church first thing on Monday morning, what better way to kick –start our new found freedom. There was a fine attendance and the joy of meeting our friends again having the friendly word and long-overdue greeting.  There was no shaking of hands, and no hugs, everybody wore a mask, but  there was nothing to dampen our spirits. I read somewhere that May 17th is all hugs day, barely a week away.  My goodness there will be a stampede. I wonder when will  be allowed the lovely custom of the friendly handshake. It will all take time because having refrained from it for so long and the fear of God hammered into us about the danger of it take a while for us to un train ourselves again and feel both safe and entitled to resume our friendly gestures. Little children will find it very different to touch rather than use the elbow to relate their loving greetings. I imagine they will make a big thing of it and share many a belly laugh in the process.

Those of us who are fully vaccinated can enjoy a great loosening of the Covid19 ties and now instead of travelling out alone we can invite the company of another and we all know that sightseeing is all about enjoying the beauty of nature but with a friend it is even better.  Members from three households can now meet  up together and share a game of Scrabble, Cards or just a friendly chat. Needless to say we all pray that the good times will last and they will as long as we all work together in this final drive to put this pandemic back in its box.

It will be interesting to see places opening up again. I’d say that open ones will cause the greatest stir, because we have grown used to them all being shut. Hairdressers lead the way of course. Some have gone to the trouble to ring their clients and take orders, make lists, so that they will know in advance where they stand. Others could find themselves snowed under for a while because we know only too well that everybody will want to be taken first. But it will all settle down in time. Our take away food outlets are doing a roaring trade and they have it brought down to a fine art. I know of a few orders of almost twenty for a varied menu which arrived piping hot in snazzy containers all packed in a neat cardboard box and collected at a given time. No fuss no washup . They are tying us over a very bad situation but I suppose the sit-down meal will always be our favourite.

The Darkness to Light fundraiser in aid of Suicide prevention went very well here at the weekend. The down-ness of the pandemic was put on the back burner as our people headed off out into the black of night to show their support for this great charity. The O’Leary Family lent great support from their beautiful new premises in the Main St. While others took a spontaneous decision to head off to be joined by likewise enthusiasts and in no time our hills and mountains were seas of star like lights from mobile phones all winking away as they made their ways to the highest points to show the world that they care. It was all done in a high spirited way and the stories that resulted would fill a book. For those who couldn’t take part, I’m sure the fund is still open. Every year large numbers of our people go to Killarney and other places to take part in the Darkness to Light event but following the fun and companionship that was experienced here this year, it is the sincere hope of many that from now on   Millstreet will organise their very own Darkness to Light Event. Well done to all involved.

One of the highlights of the business news in Millstreet this week must be the opening of the O’Leary Munster Fire & Safety business on our Main Street.

The O’Leary name has been synonymous with business in our town, for as long as I can remember. As a child I passed their family butchery shop in the West End. It was run by the Grandparents of the present day William. His parents William and Mary were the pioneers of Super Marketing in our town, when they opened Millstreet’s first Supermarket and ran it for a long time at the house where other family members Jerry Pat and James have their prize winning butcher store today. For the want of more space, William and Mary moved to one of the biggest houses on our Main Street, formerly owned by the Andreae Family. The  two Andreae sisters were tall austere and always dressed in black, they  sold all kinds of craft requirements. We went there for our knitting wools, our knitting needles, sowing needles, lengths of ribbon sold by the inch.  Housewife thread “Spelt hussife”.  It was sold in lengths called skeins about sixteens inches and about twenty pieces all tied at one end by a piece of itself. Hussive thread was much sought after because it was very strong and the ideal thing for sewing in buttons. There were no zips or velcro that time on men’s apparel and reliable buttons were a must. Their body coats, overcoats, trousers, shirts, especially working shirts, underwear and women’s skirts and coats all had to be kept in place by a button or several of them. If a button fell off, it was kept in safety to be used again. But outside of that there was a button box in every house. and if there was need for one it didn’t matter if it wasn’t a match. The main thing was that there was a button where a button should be.  No notice  was taken to see a mix of colours adorning the shaggy everyday garb. The row that started off in all black, could in time have a red or blue and even a white here and there so long as it kept out the rain and cold and kept the body decent  the hussive thread was the answer. The door of the shop was slightly recessed and we young ones would stand in there to wait for whoever had gone in to make a purchase and now when I see the  recessed door in the renewed place my mind goes back to my very young days of the Andreae sisters. There was an interesting feature about them on our website in the not too distant past and can be accessed here. Back to where I was in time as I said William and Mary opened up their state of the art Spar Superstore there where they served our community with distinction for many, many years. Times were very different too. Trading wasn’t the high-level computerised business that it is today. There  wouldn’t be any off season products, such as fruit and vegetables  coming from abroad to tide us over the lean periods. Store keepers had to find out where the earliest could be sourced  and I have a vivid memory of the beautiful early potatoes that William had to go  to Ballycotton for at the dawn of day in order to have them in the store for opening time. We’d be waiting for them fresh from the ground with the earth still on them, not a skin would be wasted. Funny the things that stick in your mind.  We grieved when they closed but a great light has come on again in our Main Street when William junior and his lovely wife Claire have opened  the modern day Munster Fire & Safety Business in the footprints of his parents and we wish them God’s Blessing and every success for the future.

Did anybody hear or see the Cuckoo yet? He has been heard loud and clear in Beara and other remote valleys. Nearer to home the little birds are still choosing places to build their nests. I have one getting on with it in one of my sheds which means that I can’t put in my car, washing their residue off of it every morning doesn’t appeal to me and I don’t want to deprive the little pair from playing their part in the works of nature.  It’s still too soon to plant out, there is frost most nights and it would be a shame to see our tender hopes burned to bits. But while we wait for our summer blossoms we can enjoy the many flowering shrubs both in our own garden and those we can see on our travels now that we are moving further afield. Please take great care when spreading your wings, in the past week alone I have heard of no less than two people who have fallen and broken limbs.  Their greatest regret is that now that they’ve got their freedom one is still in hospital and the other too frightened to go outside with an arm in a sling.

In spite of restrictions we are glad to see that an equestrian event can be held at the Green Glens Complex. The Millstreet International Horse Trials will take place at the Green Glens June 3-6. Behind closed doors.

It’s nice to know that the local County Council are joining up with our Tidy Towns  Committee  in an effort to  beautify some of  our approach roads. They recently levelled the top  ditch on the righthand side of the Macroom Road from town almost to the Grotto with the view of planting wild flowers, which will further enhance this scenic area.

The Museum will be open four days a week Monday to Thursday 9,30 to 2.30 and be on the look out for others places also who are preparing to trade again.  Support all those who have made so many sacrifices in the past year and a half and go to Mass as often as possible, now that our beautiful churches are open again.

To hear some old songs which have been rescued from extinction log on the Paddy Murphy’s website on soundcloud.com and no need to remind you of Sean on CMS tonight from 9.30 and on Sundays from midday .

That’s about it from me this week, please look up our website every day and stay informed about all that is happening. Help others to  get back into the swing of the life which was so important to them before.

Slán agus Beannacht libh go léir.

1 thought on “Eily’s Report – 11th May”

  1. Great write-up, Eily! As a visitor to Millstreet, I pray all of its people are blessed with the touch of others as soon as possible. Courage to all!
    Diah dhaoibh!
    Joe Booth
    Spokane, WA

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