By Marian Harnett

PROLOGUE:  St. Patrick’s Breastplate “ I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ears to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s shield to protect me”.

MARCH OF MANY WEATHERS:  If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb. Another saying is that ‘the first 10 days of April are borrowed from March’ so you can expect anything.  John Nelligan from the Glorach Theatre sent me the following poem written by Eugene O’Neill which may or may not console you as the wind howls and the hailstones beat off the windows.

To Winter

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Away from here,

And I shall greet thy passing breath

Without a tear.

I do not love thy snow and sleet

Or icy floes;

When I must jump or stamp to warm

My freezing toes.

For why should I be happy or

E’n be merry

In weather only fitted for

Cook or Perry.

My eyes are red, my lips are blue

My ears are frost bitt’n;

Thy numbing kiss doth e’n extend

Thro’ my mitten.

I am cold, no matter how I warm

Or clothe me;

O Winter, greater bards have sung

I loathe thee!

Eugene O’Neill

Written in early December 1912 at his parents’ home in New London, Connecticut.

On December 9th of that same year, he embarked on a journey to a Sanitarium in Shelton, Connecticut, to undergo treatment for Tuberculosis from which he made a complete recovery.

In the early 1900’s Tuberculosis was called the great killer and was the leading cause of death in the United States. The national death rate from the disease was 204 per 100,000 population. TB is no longer the killer it once was and in the near future, nor will Covid 19!

MARY FLYNN SAYS THANK YOU:  After the unexpected closure of the late Ann Lyons shop in the Square recently Mary Flynn who worked with Ann for the past 36 years has written a letter to thank “ all our loyal customers, great friends and wonderful people both young and old”.  She says that she was “ completely overwhelmed” by all the people who queued over the days before the shop closed and who brought her “ beautiful cards, gorgeous bouquets of flowers and extremely generous gifts”.  Mary talked too about the great friend she had in the late Ann and all the precious memories she will carry with her.  Then comes the good news ending and she writes “ Thankfully as one door closes another one opens and thanks to some young entrepreneurs in town I am delighted to join the team in a new shop opening shortly on Main Street, Abbeyfeale.  Onwards and upwards everybody.  Stay well, looking forward to better days ahead and meeting all of you soon again.”  Everyone in town is looking forward to the opening of the Siopa Nua and to having Mary’s welcoming smile behind the counter and as Mary said in her letter “  Abbeyfeale is a vibrant town, a wonderful place to live and has a huge community spirit.  Even in these difficult times I am sure everybody will shop local and support all our local traders.”

VIRTUAL FLEADH BY THE FEALE: Do you want to be a part of Fleadh by the Feale’s 2021 virtual weekend?   The organising committee have been in touch;  “We are looking for any local musicians, singers or dancers to send us a video clip of themselves to be in with a chance of featuring on this year’s virtual weekend! Performers of all ages welcome. Note: Video maximum length of 3 minutes. Video must be taken landscape orientation. Videos must be sent via WhatsApp to 0877419343 by Friday, March 26. At the start of your video please state: Your name. Where you are from. We are looking forward to sharing some local talent with you all”.

GLIN CASTLE TO GO GREEN:.  ‘St Patrick’s Festival 2021 will be marked virtually with an online programme celebrating Limerick’s ‘Edge and Embrace. Limerick Tourism, Culture and Arts Department are working in partnership with Failte Ireland to light up buildings across Limerick City and County from Saturday, March 13 – 20 inclusive, to celebrate St Patrick’s Day’. Despite the pandemic, the show goes on, online on St Patrick’s Festival TV (SPF TV) at from March 12 – 17, offering more than 100 events.

THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION: The dates for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation will be announced when restrictions are lifted. Meanwhile on Tuesday March 23the diocese of Limerick will host a webinar for the parents of children who will be confirmed this year. This webinar will assist parents prepare with their child for Confirmation. The title of the webinar is: “Confirmation: Journeying with your Child”. It will be held on March 23rd 7-8pm. It is important to register for the webinar beforehand. Registration closes on Friday March 19th at 5pm.You’ll find the link for registration on the page of the Diocesan website and Facebook announcing the webinar.

LOCIAL ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE:  Are you interested in developing or expanding your social enterprise? Have you an innovative approach to addressing community needs? ‘Cooperating to Succeed’ is an imaginative yet practical programme designed to support social entrepreneurs, providing a year-long training and support package, tailored to your current needs. For further information please contact [email protected] or 069 66294.