The Bypass

I have it in for bypasses – those ring roads around cities, towns and villages. I feel that they have half killed many lovely places and have knocked their hearts out with the building of out of town shopping complexes and the like.

Yes, I know they have eased traffic jams but …

Anyway, one of my walks that pretty much fits the Covid19  ‘no more than 2km from your home restriction’ is a loop that includes a chunk of Tramore’s bypass.

I never walk on it normally but we’re not talking ‘normal’ at present. I hadn’t quite worked out what exactly I had against it as a walking spot until yesterday when I went in the opposite way to usual and started with the old part of the town. That brings me passed my late parents’ house and the zillions of memories associated with them; across the top of Main Street, which always has me gazing down the steep hill to the beach; across Priests’ Road, with its looming church and houses I have known since I was tiny. It also includes a former sweet shop which makes me think of the day when I was three and waiting so excitedly to see Dad driving Mother home from hospital in our Morris Minor after a very close encounter with death.

On around the corner and there’s the entrance to Love Lane and the tennis club that was such a part of my life.

Up the steep Newtown Hill with its beautiful old walls and the place where there used to be a caravan site with terrific views of the sea.  Mother and Father rented a caravan there every Summer in the early years of their married life as they had to vacate their rented house. They adored the caravan, even though I never saw Father as a caravan type of person as he was big into organising his own space.

As I head up the hill, there’s thoughts of all the roads to my favourite beaches on out the coast but alas it’s time to turn onto the bypass. So, yesterday, I saw how the walls changed from the shapely old stone walls to concrete blocks. The bypass is straight with no twists and turns to keep you wondering.

It backs onto gardens so there’s no keeping on eye on how plants are coming along; just the odd glimpse of clothes flying high on washing lines.

About half way along is a roundabout that makes you think everyone should have at least five pairs of eyes. One of its roads heads to what seems like one of the new town centres. All modern and ‘busy, busy …’

The last lap brings me back to near our place. It includes newish houses and some that have been there for my forever.

This is the key, I think, the bypass holds no memories for me. It isn’t a road of my life as it will be for kids of today who will remember having their first cycle there or a first kiss.

I guess few of us move entirely with the times when it comes to place. Rather, we see familiar places in the guise that evokes the most for us.

If I live long enough, maybe, just maybe, the bypass, now about 20 years old, will become etched into my heart and mind’s eye.









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 …..

On the Subjects of Age and Disabilities

I have to admit to feeling very upset today over the whole matter of how it is emerging so strongly that people in care homes are finding themselves caught in the horror of COVID19.

Most of my working life related to the experiences of people with disabilities and especially those who were living in residential care and later on I was very much involved with older people.

I think of all the fantastic individuals I have been so privileged to get to know through lengthy interviews and time spent staying in residential care settings.

It was always their  individuality that struck me and not the shared fact of being in a category of ‘older person’  or ‘a person with a disability.’

Now it feels like the categorizations are back and the ‘people’ behind the walls of care homes are being half or more than half forgotten about as the rest of the world thinks about freedoms after lockdown.

Neither older age nor disability make a person any less of a precious human being than anybody else. Neither age nor disability strips a person of feelings, hopes, fears or love of life any more than anybody else.

Of all the people I think about today, my great-aunt Anna stands out. She was the bright romantic star who married for the first time, aged 72, and lived out her last years in a nursing home. Her short term memory wasn’t great but she was as loving, caring, full of fun as anyone I have ever known. At 89, she was game for anything and knew how to listen and advise in a most empathetic way. Age didn’t matter a damn to her, as she would put it.

A Youthful Aunt Anna

I can’t bear to think of anyone being viewed as somehow less important than another but know in my heart that if this virus was posing a major threat to millions of children, it would be taking on a whole different aspect.

Obviously, I wouldn’t wish it on any child but I think we have to see our more vulnerable people, especially those in care homes, as being every bit as important and precious as a child and yes I know how precious they are too, even 6ft 3in ones!



Being Irish


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.




Just glimpsing a couple of bluebells on the side of the road the other day made my heart sing and think of the many lovely places around where there are carpets of bluebells.

In spite of everything, April is doing her best to lend colour to what can seem like the darkest time.










Easter Sunday has never been the same for me since our son was 7 and being taught in school about The Resurrection.

He got it into his head that it didn’t matter what he did in terms of danger because he would rise again after three days.

The whole thing led to some of the scariest moments of my life as he tempted fate and all warnings about crossing roads and being super careful around the fire, cliffs, mad dogs, you name it … went out the window.

I’ve often wondered if I suffered alone?


Easter Saturday


I associate Easter very much with lambs out in the fields with their mamas or in my grandmother’s kitchen being hand-fed with absolute love.

The fields where I pretty much know the lambs are likely to be are just outside our Covid19 two kilometre limit but it’s soothing just to think of them.

Giving thanks to be feeling fine tonight as Ireland’s Covid figures rose pretty sharply today.

Hope you are all doing okay, my friends.