My Ireland

I have been really bad at keeping my blogging going this last while. It’s not that there’s anything getting in the way of it. Rather, I feel a bit inhibited because I am acutely aware that everyone is being affected very differently by Covid19 right across the world and many are suffering terribly.

My Ireland is doing okay but we’re treading very carefully as there was a horrible rise in the infection number yesterday after what seemed like a very good outlook.

This morning, as July comes to a close, I am looking out at thick fog and heavy rain. I totally accept Irish weather because it’s what gives us our greenery and as life moves on I feel that sunshine is a state of mind and heart and not just weather-related.

The sun shines for me when life is calm and those I love are healthy and happy. What good is a bright sunny day when one’s heart is heavy.

So, wherever you are, I hope there is sunshine in your heart and, if not, I hope you can see that storms do pass eventually.

Take care,

J

The Anne Valley, Co. Waterford

Changing Times

I find it very difficult to get my head around the extent to which life has changed since I was a child.

This whole issue came into focus over the last few weeks when all the talk here in Ireland was about the fundamental need to get childcare services and schools open so that the economy could open up again.

It brought me back to my school days and the memory I have of one day, yes just one day, that I had to stay in school for lunch because Mother wasn’t going to be at home.

Imagine, she was there every day with lunch ready and full of interest in hearing about all the news from the mornings’ happenings at school.

She was of a generation who was legally barred from working after she got married. She resented that imposition but certainly didn’t take it out on us.

I was of a generation when women weren’t banned from working BUT I wanted to be here for young son, as much possible, during his school years so worked from home and at night. Clearly, this wasn’t ideal in terms of enhancing my career but something in me just couldn’t have a situation where I would hardly see our young son or have him spending hours in after school care settings, which I would have absolutely hated as a kid.

Life seems to have changed so much and economics demands that both parents work to try and cover costs. I just wonder if we, as a society, have done the right thing. Should schools be essentially childminding services?  Have we put material things ahead of caring, for both young and old?

Is there any chance that a bit of silver lining from this horrendous pandemic will be a reassessment of what we are doing, why we are doing it and whether there are better options for all involved in the complexity that is ‘family,’ ‘economy,’ ‘rights,’ equality’ and ‘loving care?’

 

 

So Glad to be Asked

I guess I am not alone in feeling that staying at home isn’t doing much in terms of putting a shoulder to the wheel to try rid us of this virus.

It all reminds me a bit of a time when I was pregnant and not allowed to do a thing because of high blood pressure. I was moaning to my mother about being so useless and she said, “You’re doing a very important job, giving your baby the best possible chance of survival and good health.”

This lockdown scenario is even more important than that because there’s more than just one life involved – It’s potentially millions around the world.

Having said all that, I was thrilled to be able to post a few letters today for a woman I hardly know who is in complete lockdown.

I know now that I have got to keep thinking of how we’re not doing nothing, we’re doing arguably the most significant thing we will ever do as a collective.

Be safe, my friends and don’t hesitate to ask …..

Being Irish

pocket-wit-and-wisodm

Ireland is simply part of who I am but it has to be stressed that there are a multiplicity of Irishnesses.

The parts that I love include the natural beauty, the crazy accents, the music (from Traditional, Country to U2 …..), poetry from Yeats to Heaney and way beyond, the islands, the greenness, the country roads, the National Gallery, our national broadcaster and the dry wit that you can happen upon in the most unexpected places.

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” Oscar Wilde.

 

St. Patrick’s Day, 2020

It’s been a long time since I stood here on the Social Bridge but somehow it feels only right to reach out today, on this quiet St. Patrick’s Day,  to wish everyone well as the we all try to deal with the challenge of Covid19.

So many St. Patrick’s Days that brought ups and downs, but this is one none of us could have anticipated.

There may be a mist hanging over Tramore but it is making the Irish coloured daffodils gleam all the brighter.

I hope you can find calm wherever you may be and that you will accept this St.Patrick’s Day greeting with all the love and Irish lilt that is bound up in it.

There was never a greater need for bridges of heart, mind, creativity and hope.

 

 

Yet Another Ireland

There I was making a cup of tea with a tea bag and I got to thinking of all the things, of my lifetime,  that have vanished apart from fleeting memories of them. Here’s a few that might or might not jog a memory, draw a smile, a sigh or …

#1. Green public telephone boxes with button A and button B. (I saw one in a garden out in the middle of nowhere the other day.)

#2. The Riordans on RTE television

#3. Making a ‘trunk call’ and having to dial the operator.

#4. A time when there were no mobile phones and not all that many houses with telephones.

#5. Wooden tennis rackets

#6. The coming of the ‘hole in the wall’ that gave out money and how you’d say ‘Thank You’ ’til you realised what an eejit you were talking to a machine.

#7. The move to decimalisation

#8. When shops were shut on Sundays and from 1-2 for lunch.

#9. When you went to the chemist to collect your photos and get a new film.

#10. The doctor who dropped in after tea to check on ‘the patient.’

#12. Telegrams

#13. Butlins Mosney by the Sea

#14. Bedsits

#15. The border posts between the Republic and Northern Ireland

#16. When 99.99% of people in Ireland were white

#17. Days before Funeral Homes

#18. When JFK was revered in Ireland

#19. Showbands coming to town

#20.45s and LPs

#21. The washing-up ritual

#22. Talk of joining the Common Market

#23. Charles Mitchell reading the News on RTE

rte_news_-_charles_mitchel_last_broadcast_1984
Charles Mitchell on RTE ~ Photo: Wikipedia

#24. That first big green car wash when you forgot to close the window

#25. Jim Figgerty

 

#26. The Catholic Church ban on its adherents attending Trinity College, Dublin without special dispensation.

#27. Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls

#28. When Sunday Mass included the priest reading out a list of who had given a donation to the church and how much it was.

#29. The first moon walk

#30. Listening to Radio Luxemburg under the blankets (no duvets then!)

Maybe you have a few or hundreds to add to the list?