Eily’s Report – 2nd August

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

The biggest crowd ever for the Rosary, exceptionally long queues for the removal and a full church for his requiem Mass, That was the tribute which was meted out to the humble Pat Lane, who passed away before the weekend and who was Pat Lane. Born 60 years ago to parents Connie and Peggy Lane in Caherdowney.  We take little notice of each other getting on with our daily lives, but it is only when someone dies that we are rocked into a sense of the reality, that they will be with us no more. Born in 1962, we all knew and loved Pat for different reasons. Mine started long before he was born, when I walked the Liscahane road with his lovely mother Peggy Butler going and coming to school every day for years. We were soul mates, like all of us going to school that time we knew one another in depth and that familiar gene seemed to be passed on to Pat for when I’d meet him,  his mom’s name came up every time and some story or memory to go with it. On the wider scale Pat was a friend to everyone and his needs were few. So long as Mary and the children were OK, everything else came second. Pat had no high class education, he worked hard to make a living, be it on a powerful track machine or using the shovel to clean the streets or the shlean to cut the turf, even plucking turkeys at Christmas. If we are wise, we will learn a lot from Pat. He had many talents, play music, sing, recite, converse, which he rarely used and without them by just being himself, he gained the respect and regard of all those who met him over the years. Even the Healy Raes and the  Brennan Brothers came. Many would be wise to take a page out of his book. The shortest sermon I ever heard a priest to give at a Mass was when he turned towards the congregation (They faced the alter that time for Mass) and said in slow profound words, ‘Remember you may be the only Bible that someone will ever read’. The biggest crowd for the Rosary the longest removal and the fullest church,  the lovely Ford sisters with their meaningful songs and music, lorded over by Canon John.

Pat got it right.

We offer our deepest sympathy to his grieving wife Mary and his children Maria, Con, Patrick and all his extended family. No doubt Pat will work hard for them in Heaven as he always did on earth. R.I.P.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 2nd August”

Eily’s Report – 26th July

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

Anybody looking at the web would have to say that we are a community apart. Helped along by suitable weather it is a pleasure to see so many out-door events being held. There is something about the out-of-doors that makes a difference. Lots of fundraising for good causes and enjoyable things for folks to take part in.  Having spent more than two years undercover it’s a real pleasure to see communities organising events, in some cases brand new events, different things starting up by young people  which can give an injection of new life in the years to come.  Take young Neil Corkery, son of Sheila and Neily at his beautiful new residence in Cloghoula, himself and his wife Noreen started up a Pony Trekking business. Pony trekking is new in the area and judging by the interest in it. it will grow and flourish in the years ahead. At the start of the school holidays  this year, they held a pony camp which proved extremely popular with the youngsters.  As well as rides Neil had a wide range program of games for them, all with an equestrian theme. Last week five of his ponies took part in the Pony Young Riders competitions at the Green Glens and with great success. The business is proving very popular not only with  the Irish, but also with tourists from many parts of America. From base in Cloghoula, visitors are taken on the scenic route over the local hills and  shady forestry ways. Their service provides riding lessons for beginners at a young age. Plus livery services, which means they will stable ponies for those who have no place to keep one at home. More and more people are showing an interest in this new and welcome service in our parish. If you would like to learn more, give Neil a ring 087 272 7759. In closing I want to wish Neil and Noreen continued success for the future.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 26th July”

Eily’s Report – 19th July

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

Not in the best of form this week, a nasty chest infection has taken up residence in my body and it’s not a nice thing or an easy one to get rid of. Being the sort of person who doesn’t like to sit still for very long it’s an effort to mind myself. The moment I feel good I want to be off but not far into my quest I know that all is not right inside and I have to give in and return to base. We never know where we pick these things up and can only mind oneself when it’s too late. My paying guest, Fiona has the same thing  but with the help of our trip to the caring GP, a few sincere prayers, followed by a course of antibiotics, we’ll both be good as new in the not too distant future. So we motor on.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 19th July”

Eily’s Report – 12th July

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

If it’s heat you’re looking for, well you have it. Maybe a little too hot for some of us, but there are places to hide if the scorching sun is too much for you.  At my time of life any sort of extremity is dangerous and on Saturday as I watched younger folks wallowing in the noon-day sun, I admired from my undercover abode. The heatwave hadn’t begun on Thursday when our ARA organised bus trip to Ballyheige was held. Skies were dull and the ground wet as we drew close to the beach, but joy of joys the day broke into a soft warm rainless few hours as we went for long walks along the sandy beach. It’s a long time since I’ve been to Ballyheige, not since the times that I’d pile all my grandchildren in the car and head off for a week. Three boys and three little girls all under ten, the youngest four.  We didn’t always go to Ballyheige, other venues were Ballybunion,  The Wheel INN in  Beara etc. It was the highlight of the year, when I’d have fixed the date and booked to seaside caravan, the excitement was electric. They’d join me with their little belongings, bucket and spades, summer attire, sleeping bags, a bit of pocket money and a severe warning from the moms and dads to be good for Nana. Coming from a family of seven myself, it was so natural to have the crowd around me. God Rest Dan, we left him at home, he would be far too nervous of the harmless pranks and games of the young, so that it was better that he took the week off from us all. Books could be written on the things we did and the wonderful times we shared, all the time the bonds between us all was getting stronger. While in Beara I took them in the cable car out to Dursey. All in our little family car and we’d sing our hearts out along the way. At night we’d go to the merries if they were there. They loved the slot machines, great when they won but not when their few coppers ran out. Back in the caravan we’d play cards and tell stories ,while one by one my little charges fell off to sleep. We never got any setback or accident, T.G. except for one stormy night in Ballybunion. Our abode shivered and shook and was in danger of blowing over like those around us, and Michelle held a holy cross in her little seven year old little hand all night asking God to protect her little four year old brother Dave and He did. Next morning we emerged bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for another fun day. Time flies, children grow fast and Ballyheige was our last place we went to. One day my  six as I called them, gathered around me and asked if they could stay in a tent, it being our last night. They’d met others in the dunes that day and formed a plan. The eagerness in the little faces took me by surprise. I needed to think, so I told them to go off and play while I made up my mind. Soon they were back for my reply and I said yes because the last thing I wanted was to disappoint them, but my mind was racing. The work started just beside the caravan and you never saw a tent going up so fast. Driving pegs  throwing on the cover, securing it all hands on deck and finally  to pull up the zip. Then it was off to play until I called in for food. The weather was not good, rainy, cold  and they didn’t go out again so we played games and we told stories and talked about the days happenings until it was time for their big adventure. They bundled up their sleeping bags, a flashlamp, music, the tuck box etc. etc. and spilled out the door. But alas they were not long outside when they came with the bad news that the tent was all wet inside and they couldn’t use it. Needless to say the disappointment was soon forgotten and we had more fun till they fell asleep and I with a feeling of relief like never before. We came home the next day our week was down and we came home next day they were getting bigger then and went on holidays with their parents. Life went on and our bonds of love and friendship still to the good. And whenever they meet, they can’t wait to recall those wonderful childhood years. But it was only when Ken, the oldest, got married many years later, that I plucked up the courage to tell them that I threw a bucket of water into the tent all those years ago ,it was easier than  having to tell that I couldn’t allow them sleep in it. There are ways, don’t you agree.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 12th July”

Eily’s Report – 6th July

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

The hunger for outdoor pursuits was well portrayed  this past week with the huge attendance at outdoor events. The Willie Neenan five-mile race which is no stranger to great support, didn’t disappoint. Supporters filled the town on Friday evening and some lined the way along to lovely route taking in the picturesque Glebe road. The Glebe road was the real deal for the aristocrats of the town when I was a child. You had to be a certain sort of person. Know how to walk with an expensive looking walking cane. Know what to wear  and have the proper company. Mostly married couples of mature years. Very staid looking never smiling, dead intend in conversation with one another. The women always wore heeled shoes, common by todays standards I suppose which could not have been that comfortable for the long trek, five miles. But perhaps the walking cane helped. Himself in his tweed suit and long gabardine overcoat and hat. The lady also wore a hat. There was an educated way of using the cane. After every few steps or more, the end of was given a little toss in the air while the knob turned in the palm of the hand. She wore her well tailored calf-length tweed coat, often topped off with and expensive looking natural fur. Very like what she wore going to Mass on Sundays. Sometimes they met up with others of their class and had a brief chat before moving on for their weekly walk around the Glebe. I’d heard of the Glebe road, but it was years before I ventured that far and when I did, it was easy to see how it attracted these town business people who were cooped up inside a counter or an office all week. The French Sisters of the Divine Jesus were in vogue back then at Drishane Castle with a upmarket boarding school for girls,(who could afford it) and a busy working farm and knitting factory which gave employment to may locals, both men and women. So there was plenty for the passers by to see.  To us young mortals Drishane was something of a mystery. It was down there away from our daily lives. For one thing they could be seen walking in groups on the roads outside the Convent, which was alien to us because our nuns in the Presentation Convent couldn’t come out at all. Not that we ever encountered one of them and we were told that you addressed them as madam while we addressed ours as sister. As a child you accept many things as normal, because you don’t know how to ask questions and those whom we’d ask them of wouldn’t be able to find answers. So it’s only in later years that it dawns on you that you just settled for what was handed to you and if we could go back I bet we’d do it all again the same way. The road took the walker around a great deal of the Drishane Estate. So the scene kept changing all the time. Sometimes past the historic entry gate with it’s mini castle feature, clear views of the Castle and buildings below, then the rolling meadows and cornfields and the tillage fields providing fruit and veg for the large number of residents and staff.  The historic graveyard could also be seen in the distance.  Turning off the main road was a joy all of its own with the huge beach trees meeting overhead forming a cooling tunnel, a wonderland, scented by the lush greenery on all sides. The next entrance gate to Drishane brought a change of view, the cooling waters of the busy Finnow  came insight as it rushed along under the road, to meet the Blackwater before they joined forces to make their way to Youghal. The humpback bridge ,I’m sure was a great place to stop and gaze into the river and get a different look at the Drishane Estate. Moving on past the home of the Doody Family, the shiny waters of one of the historic ponds couldn’t be missed. Reminder of the great lime industry which the place was famous for in the past. Trains were powered by steam on those days and you’d wonder did the strollers ever encounter a steam bath as they neared a passing locomotive as it filled the vale with it’s puffing steam. As they crocked the railway they came to the the last lap on the approach  back to  town  which gave them a view of the McCarthy O’Leary Estate and a reminder that because of them our Railway is now a mile from town. Coming up  must have been a welcome sight and an appetite for evening tea  neatly prepared by the maid. A big different from the fast-moving competitors who went there last week in honour of Willie Neenan. But no matter how you look at it the now and the then, we will always have folks who will go around the Glebe.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 6th July”

Eily’s Report – 28th June

 

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

Some like the rain, some don’t, but we all need it at least the land and the world around us do. It’s when nice warm sunny days turn wet, windy and cold days come that it becomes hard to bear. Warm clothes which were consigned to the shelf for the summer are pulled out again leaving us with over stocked wardrobes, crooks at the back of the bedroom door, or any other place where they can be easily accessed in a moment of chill, or wild shower. It’s a time when winter and summer clothes have to learn to live together. Not something that we like, but have to accept. People coming home from sunny climes, tell us of long hours day in and day out of brilliant sunshine. Little more than flimsy gear to cover their sun-starved bodies as they cash in on their good value break. But we live in hope of an improved July with lots of sun.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 28th June”

Eily’s Report – 21st June

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

Monday June 20, and beautiful sun drenched day to herald in the longest day of the year. The turf is drying  rapidly in the bog, making up for a late start and there is a vast increase in the number of patrons seeking peat fuel this year. Turf  has been the saving grace of our people for centuries. Apart from giving employment it gave light and heat to the poorest of the poor. When oil was scarce during the 39/45 war we did our lessons by the light of the fire. From beginning to end turf gave exercise and hope to both man and beast who were involved in rescuing it from it’s bed of slush on mountains and flatlands. Turf was created when it built itself up over the centuries. The vegetation which grew on the boggy surface rotted down over the years and ever so slowly grew into tall banks ready for the day when man and shleán came to avail of it. The jelly-like surface held together only by a thin film of greenery. So bogs by nature are pretty inaccessible and in the old days the best help which was available to cope with it’s soft terrain was the humble ass. Men cut the turf and spread out on the ground to dry but getting it to hard ground by the roadside was in many cases done  by a donkey.   Creels or baskets strewn across the animal’s back were commonly used in the West of Ireland. A scene which featured in many a picture postcard, but not so around here, so homemade inventions were put together for the task. Day after day the nimble beast made the rounds from bank to roadside ferrying the precious turf on some sheet of tin or timber dray until the last ciraan was out.  To be collected later by a powerful horse and crib and brought  home. At home many turf sheds were placed a distance from the dwelling house, in a sort of effort to spare it. The word spare was applied to most things that time. Spare the turf,  a cranky man could be heard saying to the wife, Spare that turf, you were a long way from the bank when I was cutting it. But he still had to get his dinner. Once home the turf had to be brought into the house for the fire. So a jute or meal bag was the normal receptacle. Young lads were usually the ones for this task, at least it was in  our house.  As he headed off bag in hand he would go with the warning to bring the dry ones and as he filled his sack with sods  he had to do his best to obey orders, and you dare not give a back answer or a well placed clip in the ear could follow. Needless to say sods of turf got broken in transit, small pieces were known as Ciaraans, while more turned to dust and  was called turf bruss. Ciaraans were very welcome when the fire was bad. They were very like lumps of coal and they ignited very fast and always gave new life to a sulking hearth. On the other hand turf bruss or turf dust as some people called it was rarely used for anything. It’s hard for us now to imagine that the fuel which served us so well for centuries has now become a forbidden thing. It almost feels like the  betrayal of an old friend.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 21st June”

Eily’s Report – 14th June

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

It’s hard to imagine that my next Report (dv) after this one will be on the longest day of the year. June 21. So don’t say that I didn’t tell you that the year is moving on. Moving on it is and we can’t stop it but are we making the full use of the passing days and weeks and months. There is no use in blaming the weather because we can do nothing about it but there are things that we can do regardless. The old saying the It’s better to light a candle than curse the dark, can also apply to the way that we can motivate ourselves into taking on a plan B if the sun don’t shine. God Bless our crowd  of who  headed off on a bus to Donegal on Monday morning 50 plus of them both men and women for four days all organised by our excellent Active Retired Committee. I know they will love it because I went on the very same program a few years ago with a lovely group from Castlemagner. But as I’m not the sit-at-home type I’ve booked a couple of more locally based trips. For a mere €25 the well  known Jerry Lehane will take us on  day trips around the rings of Kerry or Beara and even to Galway and more. He knows all the best places to stop and shop and eat and stretch the legs. In his very own relaxing way. Look him up on our website for details.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 14th June”

Eily’s Report – 7th June

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

The Bank Holiday weekend brought rain and more rain, mostly at night, just as people were remarking on the rather dry conditions in the ground. Mixed blessings as some blessed the soft rain in some places while  others far from happy because of plans spoiled by the wet conditions. One wonders how our Divine Maker can please us all. I look out my window almost in disbelief at my beautiful Laburnum tree. It’s sturdy limbs weighted down with beautiful yellow tendrils in bright yellow. Maybe others wouldn’t be so moved, but since my childhood seeing them in the Convent grounds where we went to school I’ve loved them and longed for the day when I’d have my own Laburnum tree. They say that everything comes to those who wait and believe me I have waited. Didn’t get the chance till we retired and then having purchased a fine healthy sapling made the mistake of planting it near other shrubs which were well established giving the snails a launching pad to go on board my precious Laburnum and make a meal of it’s juicy foliage. Box and all they moved up to the highest limbs and took up residence until I discovered them on high when it was too late.  Enter a new plant and I waited a few years for it to mature, eventually after my long wait it flourished and put out a promising array of greenery all set to burst out in a mass of yellow. But alas it was not to be, along came a couple of days of wild wind and rain blew the  precious streamers to oblivion. I was tempted to cut it down and try something else. But decided to give it one more chance and low and behold my long wait has been rewarded. I can feast my eyes on the tranquil sight of my very own laburnum tree.  Makes no difference if it never flowers again or if I’m not here to see it, I love it now and that is all that matters.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 7th June”

Eily’s Report – 31st May

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

You hate to say it but time really is flying and we can only hope that we are making full use of it.  The tell-tale signs of a year moving on are all around us. Even the little broken shells on the ground is proof that the birds have already done their job of procreation and are busy feeding their chirpy garcucs (Baby birds) who never seem to stop asking for more. It’s silage time another reminder of the passage of time and the onset of exam time. Up to now the pressure has been piling on the students who are about to sit them. It gives me the pip every year when for months beforehand, the papers and the media and word of mouth are telling our students how awful it’s going to be and woe betide them if they don’t get tops. Often making those involved believe  that if they’re not worried out of their wits, then they mustn’t be trying hard enough. Sadly most students today go for an academic career leaving a wide vacuum of trades people. In my time it was always tradesmen, because the work of the carpenter, or the plumber, electrician or mason were men only. But is as open to the girls now as it is to the lads. And very often a trade is a less stressful way of life.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 31st May”

Eily’s Report – 17th May

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

The Month of Our Blessed Lady is moving on and the Holy Rosary is being recited at cross roadside Grottos and indeed at our own Tubrid Well regularly since the month began and will continue till the end. The annual Mass will be said at Tubrid Well on Friday May 27 at 7.30. Further to that Masses will be said at all of our Cemeteries during the month of June. Please keep an eye out for the dates.  While on the subject, I’ve been asked to mention that the toilets at Tubrid Well are not open which is a great inconvenience  to many who go to  pray there.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 17th May”

Eily’s Report – 10th May

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

The Merry Month of May is not very merry today (Monday) with rain falling instead of the twenty degrees heatwave which was forecasted. However we must be thankful for what we get, because the grass and flowers won’t grow without the rain and there’s no more to be said. I like to use the wet weather  to replenish my stocks of rain water. We cannot store up the sun, but we can store up rain. Old habits die hard and in olden times when every drop of the precious stuff had to be drawn in buckets from the nearest stream for general use and perhaps further away from the nearest well for making the tae or soup or boiling fruit and so on. So the custom of placing containers in strategic places to grab the liquid Manna from Heaven made sense. To put a barrel under the shoot came natural or many barrels under many shoots to make it better. Wetting the feeding for pigs, leaving pans of water out for fowl  to drink, water to wash the spuds for the dinner all took their toll on what was in the barrel and when the store was empty there was nothing for it but take the long trek with a bucket in each hand to resume the long haul. From watching those before us we learned to save and spare, and use and reuse. It became a habit ,and gave us a great sense of achievement if we succeeded in our quest. For example if the stores under the spout were not still drained out before the next rainfall we’d be delighted that we made it to the next re-fill. I’m still like that today and count my tubs full of rainwater as a free gift from God every time I dip in my watering can.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 10th May”

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.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 3rd May”

Eily’s Report – 26th April

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

What a cruel turn of fate has hit the people of the Ukraine, when they’ve had to abandon home and country and seek shelter in many places, foreign to them. Once again because of the Duggan Family and the Green Glens, Millstreet is able to play a leading role in offering solace to a great number of these homeless people. We do not know what the future holds for them, but at the outset we have to be proud of our Community Council and all our people who have stood out in the face of the world as a welcoming and caring society when a great need arises. There is no way of knowing what the future holds for these people but while they are here with us, they are sure of a safe and friendly reception. I was asked to say that if people want to donate for the cause, please contact IRD Duhallow. Donations will not be accepted at the Green Glens.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 26th April”

Eily’s Report – 19th April

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

With the ties of Lent behind us and a wonderful Easter also slipping away, we can begin to plan the rest of Spring -March ,April and May, I have to make a note of them as I’m never quiet sure of the months of each season. May seems so far on in the year that you could be forgiven for thinking that it was summer but summer it is not. In my youth “Spring Work” was the most important thing of the year and because there were none of the mod cons of today to get the work done it required careful planning and meticulous use of time to prepare the land for the planting season. Everything going at a slow pace, walking pace I suppose. To plough a field turning just one sod at a time took days instead of the super fast methods of today, where a tractor pulling a four or more board plough can do the likes in a matter of hours. If my memory serves me rightly, most of that work would be done in March or April, depending of the type of land and the weather. Preparing for the Spring Work was a ritual in itself. The preparing of the horses and their tackling was paramount. Harness makers were a very important part of the process. In some places the harness maker came to the farmhouse where all the bits and pieces were put before him. I can remember as a very small child when such was the case in our home. His name was Billy Alex, don’t know if that was his full name but I never heard of him being called anything else. He was deaf and dumb and known to have a fiery temper. Our Dad told us that if we went near him, he would stick us with the awl. This was to make sure that our small fingers didn’t go off with his pliers and treads and his other pieces of equipment. He worked where the light was best at the big kitchen window ,with the straddles and britchens etc strewn on the floor around him, and he came every day till all were repaired. We would watch him with interest from afar and were fascinated by his craft. The horse collar required special attention, had to be packed with curled hair paying special attention to where the most pressure would come for the beast of burden. If it wasn’t done properly it would redden the horse’s breast and nothing could be worse on a busy ploughing day. It didn’t always turn out right and I can recall my Dad coming in from the field and get part on an old sock, pack it with some curled hair to put inside the horse collar to take the pressure of the wounded part so ploughing could continue. We would watch Billy making the special wax hemp he would stand the awl on the wooden window sill and use it to hold the hemp using the required number of lengths which he would twist running the end down along his knee ,and then rubbing on the ball of wax which made the end product a strong durable yarn to sew/repair the thick leather harness in place. As he worked, the everyday things went on in the other part of the kitchen. The  iron range was stoked up with turf and sticks to bake the daily bread and to  cook the dinner for us all, Billy included, and we eyeing him out of the corner of our eyes in case we angered him in any way. And get  stuck with his awl. My Dad would rush in from the fields ahead of the rest and make a cake and put it in the oven to bake while eating his dinner, my brothers warned to keep up the heat . In hindsight I’m sure  poor Billy  was harmless but our Dad had to make a strong case so that we’d obey in his absence. The harness maker brought the things he needed for his work, the leather and tacks, hemp, wax except the curled hair. This my Dad would have for him. Made from the long hairs from the horse’s manes and tails which was always carefully saved at clipping time. He would make it into tight curls in much the same way that little girls wrinklets were done and tied up tightly then put into a pot of water on the range and boiled for hours until the shape was set. When dried it was all teased out to form a mass of springy ,unyielding filling for hardworking horse’s harness. All finishing covering was done with strong white coarse cloth with blue lines and to see them showing as the beast of burden pulled the plough was a proud moment indeed for both horse and man.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 19th April”

Eily’s Report – 12th April

This is Holy Week, in the runup to Easter, it’s a week and a time when we can look back on the past number of weeks of Lent since Ash Wednesday and ask ourselves if we have done anything special by way of fasting or giving of alms or denying ourselves of any of the comforts of life for the honour and glory of God. At my time of life it is not easy to give up some favourite thing, so instead I’m inclined to make little sacrifices as I go along. No butter on my bread now and again, nor salt in my egg, things like that as the notion takes me. Saying a few more prayers, giving more to the poor and needy and it all helps to stave off any feeling of guilt as the weeks go by. But Holy Week is different, days when we think we are never doing enough to ease that inner voice which keeps telling us that we ought to do more, the feeling of guilt goes on every day. With the result that with so much emphasis on our longing for something, our feeling or appetite for it gets stronger, sometimes, if we’re to admit it, out of control and we devour the damn thing rather than to be looking at it.  Hopefully God loves the weak as well as the strong. Then Easter Sunday dawns and all the ties of Lent are loosed and we find that our longing for our favourite thing is easily satisfied after all and we wonder why didn’t we do more. It happens every time.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 12th April”

Eily’s Report – 5th February

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

Oh what a joy it was on Sunday evening to see the crowd of revellers around the monument in the town Square. How long is it since we’ve seen  such a joyous occasion. A large crowd gathered to extol our tremendous Los Zarcos FC team on defeating Shandon Celtic in the Presidents Cup Final. The action was played out at Turners Cross where our local lads won 6.5 in extra time, to make it a nail biting finish. That made their arrival back in Millstreet all the sweeter. Many Congratulations to all involved.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 5th February”

Eily’s Report – 29th March

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

Welcome back summer time along with the spell of lovely weather it has turned the latter part of our day into something both useful and enjoyable. People who are here from other climes where the annual time-change is not observed are to say the least very impressed. Not so much in the morning, but at stopping time in the evening when they finish their day’s work indoors.  They are almost in disbelief, that it is still  so bright and at what can be achieved by putting the clocks forward one hour.  How it can make such a vast difference to their evenings as well as the saving of electricity and so on.  Being used to it all our lives, it is something which we take for granted and it is only when we see others remarking on its advantages that we sit up and take another look and say yes they’re right, it is a good idea.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 29th March”

Eily’s Report – 22nd March

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

They say that the most difficult thing for an artist is to know when to stop. It must be a wonderful gift to be able to get some brushes and paints and a piece of canvas and transfer what is in your mind’s eye and your brain on to it. To put on the all-over basic colour and then begin to fill in the rest, I imagine, all the time having a mental image of something beautiful and satisfying at the end.  The End, yes the point where the brush is put down and that’s it. I’m reliably told by those who know that where to stop is the crunch. Just one more dab to perhaps make another tree here or there or a stone peeping up in a lake  could turn the end result into something akin to a Rembrandt or an item for the bin.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 22nd March”

Eily’s Report – 15th March

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

“I tore me ould breeches going over the ditches, St. Paaterick’s Day in the morning”.  It was a phrase that was on most people’s lips on March 17th long ago,  as we youngsters ran off to find some Shamrock.  There was always an air of joy about it, another milestone on the calendar. Devotion to the Patron Saint was very real and profound. Back then, Spring would be well on it’s way. Many fields ploughed in readiness for planting and new grass coming up.  We forget a lot with the passage of time, but it’s great to have a few pointers for us to dwell on. We got married in mid February 1957 and I can recall that there was a rush on to have the early potatoes in the ground before ‘Patrick’s Day.’ Seasons have changed a lot since then. I wonder how many of my ilk can remember the differences they found between where they were born and reared and where they married into.  Lots of us married in our early twenties, moved from one family to another and started anew. I came from a rather secluded place a mere couple of miles away and arrived close to many busy roads. Many of the farmers in the area were resettled people.  Descendants of people who were evicted from their lands and homes back in the 1800’s because they couldn’t pay their rent. Families were big that time and were forced to live in hovels work for a pittance, while saving up the fare to go to America. In time the grip of the English landlord lost it’s power and some large estates became available to be divided among those who were evicted, though the acreage was very small compared to what they lost. The great man who made it all happen to a great degree was Riobard O Suilabhan the moonlighter, better known as the Bard was one such recipient in the immediate area. Dwelling Houses were built in these holdings and the people moved in, paying rent and rates twice a year. Some with very little knowledge of farming, since they had none or very little connection with the land up to then, some returning from America to take possession.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 15th March”

Eily’s Report – 8th March

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

 Last Monday when you looked out at the lovely bright sunny day you’d be forgiven for thinking that it warm  too, but warm it is not. That lively wind is taking with it wafts of icy cold air and a drop of rain too which would send you searching for the last button or inch of zip in the your coat. But the Artic conditions didn’t deter the hardy ones from taking to our hills and tracks on Sunday. A large crowd climbed Clara while others who would normally go a mile or two, doubled their task on Sunday buoyed up by the beautiful conditions and scenery. The forecast is giving a yellow warning of a cold spell to continue for the next couple of days, so it would be a good idea to keep all your winter woollies close at hand. But we are hardly to be pitied when we see what is happening to our fellow man in Ukraine. A monster has been released and we can only pray that God will give the free world a way to stop him.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 8th March”

Eily’s Report – 1st March

The weather changes so fast, one minute the elements are taking it out on our buildings and trees and countryside, next the sun is shining warm and calm and so inviting. A trip outside be it long or short can brighten your day. Gardens, God love them are bearing up to the changes of the weather. The camellias, the flowering currents, the Mahony are ready for the off, while underneath the bluebells and daffs are also full of promise, encouraging us to follow in their lead, and fill ourselves and those around us with plans and hopes to the coming months.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 1st March”

Eily’s Report – 22nd February

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

Three hurricanes in one week was not an easy challenge but the Good Lord who calmed the seas brought us through them without too much disturbance. Goodness knows we had to batten down the hatches and take cover. But not everybody escapes un scathed some were without power while others got property damage. As a family we are most grateful that our members at Kilmeedy Castle escaped without injury when the mighty winds lifted the roof off one of the sheds and took it up on high landing it down with great force breaking their towing caravan which was parked in its path before taking a large bite out off their  back-kitchen roof. It happened at 7.30 am just as Jack was having a cup of coffee before going to work. Needless to say he got a great shock, the whole family did, but were grateful that he was still in situ to deal with the problem. Lucky for them that he had full access to the company building equipment and staff to do the necessary repairs. In a short length of time their cosy home was fixed again.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 22nd February”

Eily’s Report – 8th February

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

Hope you are all well on this not so nice morning, with the wind and rain at the ready to come at any time. But my heart was lifted  first thing this morning, by a beautiful little yellow viola in full flower in a pot outside my door. Violas always give you the feeling that they are looking at you and when the pot is at eye level you have to refrain from  winking at them, in case anybody’s looking.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 8th February”

Eily’s Report – 1st February

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

Welcome to the month of February. If you are feeling down or sorry for yourself today, then cast your mind back to this time in 2020 and again in 2021, what a sad lot we were with a worldwide killer on the loose and no hope of controlling it’s spread. The thumb screw was getting tighter every minute as the world leaders in medicine and politics tried to make sense of it all and find some common ground to build on. It isn’t over yet, at least now here we are full of cautious hope and plans for the future. Buíochas le Dia.

 Today February 1st  is St Bridget’s Day and what better way to spend it than  to pray to her, our own treasured Irish Patron  Saint  and ask her to guide us through our new normal ways of life. St.Bridget  was everybody’s friend but especially the people of rural Ireland and we have very few people today who have not sprung from the land soon or later. Many Irish people will either make or lay their  hands on a St. Bridget’s Cross today made of simple strands of bogland rush, which they will hang up in the homes for the coming year  and those who remembered to hang out a piece of cloth last night will treasure it in the same way.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 1st February”

Eily’s Report – 25th January

 

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

We have some wonderful causes for celebrations here this week, as we rise from the ashes of Corona virus, the principle one being the 100th birthday of the lovely Gobnait Twomey, Murphy’s Tce. Still as bright as a button and straight at a needle, her wonderful  family and friends left no stone unturned to make  sure her gala celebrations well worth waiting a hundred years for. Not far behind were Denis Corkery and Noel Collins who were 80. Popular Postie Jerh Keating who turned 50. We wish them many more years of happiness and good health.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 25th January”

Eily’s Report – 18th January

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

They say the world is always changing and how so true that is. Only last week our minds and hearts were full the story of  Charlie Bird and all the goodness that he portrayed in the face of his own death. His name was in everybody’s lips, but alas, following the dreadful events of this week you’d almost be forgiven for asking “who is Charlie?”No where in any part of the world have the proper words been found to describe the awful murder of the lovely Ashling Murphy. Never before have we seen such a reaction to the fatal attack on a lovely little girl who went for a walk after work. Our friends in Australia tell us of candle light vigils and other forms of support that are being held there in her honour. All over our own country cities, towns and villages are pulling out all the stops. Our own Town Park was a blaze of light and music on Friday night and in the village of Carriganima also. At times like these people are in shock and they want to do something.  It’s at times like this that they feel the need to be close to each other. People who never met before cling to one another, stand close for support, often saying nothing at all but just being there.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 18th January”

Eily’s Report 11th January

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

Well I have it, I have Covid19, tested positive five or six days ago. Earlier trials proved negative and how I dreaded the wait to see if the second red line would move along and put me among the condemned. For a day or two about a week ago I didn’t feel great so I ventured on another test, a move I didn’t take lightly because the word was out that testers were in short supply. To make sure of doing it right I didn’t spare my poor nostrils, followed the rules to a tee and waited and then low and behold the second line reddened up. This time instead of feeling any sense of alarm, I was rather more relieved. Glad in a way that the waiting was over and there was nothing to do for it but hope for the best, listen to the body a give it all the help I could to help it cope.   Other members of the family ranging in age from 10 to 38, were already a week into their isolation and doing fine apart from headaches and stuffy noses. Now I’m the same. Having the advantage of my age I had the added guard of the booster in my system.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report 11th January”

Eily’s Report – 4th January

Dia is Mhuire díobh go léir a chairde and welcome to my first Report of 2022.

I’ll start the year anyway, don’t know if I’ll finish it but will go as far as I can.  As far as the Good Lord allows and judging by the wonderful feedback that I got over the Christmas I am encouraged to continue. Many thanks to all those who took the trouble to contact me.

Greetings everybody and I wish you all a very happy New Year. When I began writing these weekly Reports, in earnest at the start of the Covid pandemic the world was a very frightening place. The future looked bleak with every country in the world reporting widespread cases and no hope of curbing it’s travels. But now more than a year later things have changed. Thanks to modern medicines vaccines soon came on the market which makes the future look a lot brighter. Being a pandemic of global dimensions meant that all countries despite former disagreements had to club together to find a solution, so many lessons were learned at top level. Today though still a serious threat, Covid19 is not regarded as being the sure killer that it was, and for that we are truly grateful to God and to science. My own family didn’t escape but those who were affected some months ago have fully recovered and those going through it at the moment have our prayers that they will likewise come through Covid 19 unaffected.

[read more …] “Eily’s Report – 4th January”