New Ways of Living

by Domhnall de Barra

Another week getting used to this new way of living and it has taught me one good lesson; I never want to go to jail!!   In comparison to what that is like, we have it easy and it is all for the greater good. I wasn’t surprised to hear this morning that some people have already gone to holiday homes in popular holiday resorts for Easter. Why was I not surprised?,  because there is a percentage of the population who think the law does not apply to them, without any virus problem. This crisis has brought out the best in many of our fellow countrymen and women who are willing to put themselves in the firing line to help others but the mindless people who want to be on holiday for the Easter period are only thinking of themselves. There is no use appealing to their better nature because they do not have one. With that in mind I was glad to hear that the Gardaí now have powers to deal with the selfish few in a way they will understand; arrest and hefty fines. We have an opportunity to save many lives so it is up to all of us to knuckle down and take the advice of the experts. This is not the first time Irish people have faced trying times. The famine is well documented.  During and immediately after the 2nd World War there was a big scarcity of goods, including food (which was rationed) in the country. One man told me of a time when there was no flour to be had and his family’s provisions were very low. He heard that there was bread at Brandon’s shop in Kilmorna so he walked across the mountain to find out , when he got there, that it was all gone. He hit for Duagh only to find the shelves empty there as well. He did not give up the quest and turned his eyes to Abbeyfeale where, at last, he succeeded in buying two loaves of bread.  He arrived home after nearly 7 hours walking to a rapturous welcome from the children who were looking forward to the bread all day.  We don’t have any such problems now. There was also the troubles in the North when people from both sides of the community were afraid to leave their homes, not knowing where the next bomb was going to go off or when a sniper would target them. Thankfully those days came to an end and so will this period of anxiety.

Normally, at this time of the year, the bogs would be full of people cutting turf after the spuds being sat. In recent years the turf machine has taken over from the sleán and, while it took away the manual labour, the bogs are not in the better of it. Our forefathers were very careful with the environment, The stripping sods were laid in the bog hole, like pieces of a jigsaw, to preserve the flora of the mountainside. When the bog had been finally cut away the surface was left as it was before. Now, big diggers leave a landscape akin to what one would expect after a nuclear war. There are holes filled with water everywhere in a terrain that is impossible to travel. It is a crying shame and one we will regret in years to come.

A bi-product of the Corona virus restrictions is a renewed interest in gardening and painting. People, like myself, who up to now had little interest in these domestic pursuits, have taken up the brush and the spade again. I must admit that, in the beginning, I hated the thought of it and only did it to give Noreen a hand, but now I am actually looking forward to the daily toil. We will have the best kept households in history.  It’s an ill wind etc.

Fr. Duggan sends his regards to you all at this very special time in the Church’s calendar. He says Mass for us every day in his cocoon in Rockwell where he is confined for the duration. There is a poem he sent included in this weeks edition. Easter has special meaning, not only for Christians but other faiths as well. it was a Pagan feast before Christianity and they share the same date, the nearest Sunday to the full moon after the March equinox. I think it about time that the Catholic Church broke with that custom and made Easter Sunday a fixed date every year. It would make life simpler for everyone. It is a tough time for those of you who would normally attend the week long ceremonies but keep an eye on the TV listings and you will be able to tune in.

Also in this weeks edition we have Abbeyfeal Notes (which has its own category) as well as By Carrig Side, Kathleen’s Notes, Knockdown News and even a sports item by Bobby Barrett. Just click on the categories at the right hand side to access these.

Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and virus free Easter

The following poem, written by Sr. Maud Murphy SSI. and submitted by Fr. Brendan Duggan

The Challenge of Corona

We were flying to the Moon

We were finding life on Mars

We were dropping bombs with drones

We were getting bigger cars.

We were building finer homes

Flying out to warmer lands

We were busy buying clothes

We were brushing up our tans.


We were throwing out good food

While we watched the starving poor

We kept burning fossil fuels

And our oil became less pure.


We were warned by our Pope

Need to mind our Common Home

Need to watch our Carbon Footprint

Try to save our world from doom.


But we didn’t want to listen

And we didn’t want to hear

We just watched TV and Tablets

Drank our wine and quaffed our beer.


Then Corona chose to visit

We were all caught unprepared

This wee microscopic VIRUS

Has our whole world running scared.


So our hands we keep on washing

And we’re careful when we cough

We stand six feet from our neighbour

‘Cause this virus might jump off.


Now we live in isolation

While our hearts are full of fear

And we fill our fridge and cupboards

Just in case it lasts a year.


Pubs and cafes are forbidden

And we dare not go to Mass

Nursing homes we must not visit

Hospitals we have to pass.


But this enforced isolation

Gives us lots of time to think

Time to clean the kitchen cupboards

Time to make our wardrobes shrink.

Could it be that this Corona

Is a blessing in disguise

Makes us think about our lifestyle

Makes us open wide our eyes.


We thought we were all important

Greatest beings on this earth

So we used it and abused it

As if it were ours from birth.


But Corona is a challenge

Makes us take a different view

Helps us see what really matters

What it is we need to do.


We must watch out for our neighbour

Doing everything we can

We are all in this together

Let us love our fellow man.


God is with us every moment

Minding us with loving care

Now we know how much we need Him

Let us talk to him in prayer.


So Corona, thanks for coming

Truth to tell we needed you

But don’t overstay your welcome

That, alas, would never do!