Eily’s Report – 3rd May

Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde and welcome to my report. And a very Happy Month of May to you one and all. I hope you treasured the onset of the Merry Month as much as I did. Weather wise it was ideal we got lots of warm sunshine and the soft rain which fell was indeed the answer to many prayers, as we had watched the fields and shrubs take on an arid appearance. The gentle moisture from the Heavens, mostly at night,  stole the show by changing the  thirsty earth into lush green. Places which were recently seeded, showed signs of growth in a matter of minutes.  My earliest memories of May are those of cotton dresses, ankle socks with fancy borders, and leather T-strap sandals, (shlippers in our day ) and daisy chains, and dandelions and birds nests and wild flowers and nettles and docks and new-born foals, fluffy chicks, baby pigs, corncrakes, the cuckoo and rainbow trout jumping in the stream. In other words a world full of wonder and life, new lives to set the world around us into full gear for the months ahead. May was the month when we had nettles with our dinner three times in the month. They being full of iron to build us up against the threat of flu  or colds or any sort of sickness that may cross our path during the year. Early in the month we’d be sent out bucket and scissors in hand to gingerly snip off the tender tops of the offensive plant, and we didn’t always escape but the first painful sting sent us rapidly searching for a dock. The dock considered an unwelcome weed has been hunted and chased since time began but still flourishes today.  The only redeeming feature it ever had was that it’s juices were supposed to cure  the almighty sting of the nettle and that was why we tearfully sought it in our moment of suffering. Mind you I don’t think it ever took the pain away and if we persisted in weeping we were told to ‘shut up our ‘ould crying, didn’t ye rub it with the dock,’ end of story. Arriving in with our pail of leaves  we immersed them in water which did a lot to tone down their punishing power. The strong stems trimmed off the leaves were consigned to the pot where the bacon for the dinner was already boiling. At the dinner table they were served up instead of cabbage three times in the month.  Though they were far from being appetising, we never-the-less devoured them because they were considered ‘good for us’. Years later when I recall the ritual I am inclined to think differently of our use of them. When you think of all the boiling and the straining of the liquid , I can’t help but wonder if strong iron content  wasn’t  thrown away in the water. Maybe we should have been given the liquor to drink and discard the uninviting leaves.  Today we are advised to use nettles to feed our plants. Immerse them in a tub or any container of water, leave to soak and water the flowers with the residue. Nothing could be cheaper and a great way to get rid of the stinging nettle.

The swallow has arrived and is busy searching for a place to build it’s nest. Sadly  sometimes to places they choose at the eaves of houses or window ledges are not acceptable by the house-owner and they’re forced to move on and they can be choosey, I put up a couple of the recommended nest boxes for them in the past, but they never used them.  They are receiving the strains of the cuckoo loud and clear around  the Cork/Kerry border. In remote places far away from the maddening crowds. It is like a  rare achievement to hear the cuckoo. If you stop to think about it you’d wonder why. Goodness knows their voices could hardly be called a song and worse still is the story of how they carry out their reproduction . Only by robbing  the nest of a much smaller feathered creature and breaking it’s eggs, does it move in and plant their own ovas and wing it off the  highest tree to let the world he’s here, and let the hard work to someone else . Much the same went for the corncrake. His rasping sounds often kept us awake at night as he chose his space  not far from our open bedroom window. We never saw much of these birds, not like the pigeons etc, they seemed to hide very well in their natural habitat. So I’m thinking that we loved them because of what they represented. The first shrill call of the cuckoo on an April evening was always the cause of much wonder,  a thrill to behold, hidden in the deep foliage of a nearby wood , as we sang ‘The cuckoo comes in April, She sings her song in May. But in the middle of June she’ll change her tune. And then she’ll fly away. ‘ The corncrake on the other hand  chose to live in the lush green meadows. No matter how we tried, we couldn’t get a look at him but we could see the  tops long grass swirling and shaking as he made his way beneath. Again the symbol of the corncrake was that of balmy Summer evenings, his world still intact before the cutting of the hay by which time they would have to have done with their task of reproduction and their young taken to safety ahead of the mighty blades of the mowing machine.

  I wonder did many people  blessed their boundaries on May Eve. The old custom of sprinkling Holy Water on boundaries to disarm those who engaged in pishogues has  gone from the scene, but a scatter of the Blessed fluid can still  give us that ‘feel good’ feeling , that we are doing the right thing. For as long as I can remember we went around our bounds on the Eve of May Day and blessed them . At that time of year the young meadows would be heavy with the weight of their crop and the smell of the lush vegetation was prime. A mixture of sweet and sour and bitter and thorny and wet with the evening dew. The sheep dog never failed to disturb a grazing little rabbit and a chase ensued. How we loved to see  his  little white scot bobbing up and down as he made his escape into the nearest burrow.   There were some other days also when we were reminded by the priest at Mass to Bless our crops. Called Rogation Days , I wonder can anybody out there fill me in on more details of them.

Our lovely Marian Shrine  at nearby Liscahane got a brand new facelift and the urns planted with bright flowers, just on time  for May Day. Well done to all those who do this voluntary work every year.

Our Active Retired Group want you to know that as part of Feile na Bealtaine, they will hold their annual Tea Dance at the Wallis Arms Hotel on Sunday May 8th. From 2.30 to 5.30. Music by the popular Peter Lane and Blackwater Sound. Please support it well.

Jack’s Mystery Tour is on May 25th. All in cost E85 .To book your seat contact Stephanie @029 60633. And say Millstreet ARA. Money to be collected at the Wallis Arms Mon. May 9th. 2.30 to 3.30.

45Drive continues at the Canon O’Donovan Centre every Tues night, In Cullen on Wed, nights and Sadly For the last night on Ballydaly on Sunday night. All with an 8.30 start.

Mass every morning at ten, preceeded by the Holy Rosary at 8.40. Eucharistic Adoration in our Church today and every Tuesday from after 10am Mass to 7.30pm.   Daily Mass on Fri at 7.30pm.

And don’t forget to tune in to Cork Music Station tonight for the best of Sean Radley, from 9.00.

Here are the results of this weeks Lotto Draw which was held on Bank Holiday Monday night. Numbers drawn were,4,12,23,25, and the Jackpot was not won. E100 went to Tom Corbett, Dromtariffe, the seller was Colemans and they Got €50 sellers prize. €50 went to Julia Buckley/Riordan Killowen, €20 each went to Dean Condon, c/o The Bridge Bar. James Hickey c/o Kevin Hickey,   Mike Lucey &Jennifer c/o The Bush Bar. Mike O’Mahony & Caroline c/o The Bridge Bar.  Mary, Sheila and John Coleman, c/o Colemans. Phillip Daly, Chef, c/o Colemans. P.J. Creedon, c/o of himself. Tommy Fitz. c/o Marie Twomey. .Next draw May 9th ,Jackpot €20,000.

Tractor Run on next Sunday May 8 for our Museum and for our very important Millstreet Website Check In at The Wallis Arms Hotel from 11am Take Off at 12.30pm,your Support would be very Welcome.

Sinn a bfuil a cairde, please continue to enjoy the lovely weather.                         Slán.

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