On the River Brick
Photo; Bridget O’Connor
A Bit of Dickying Up
Lovely paint job at Listowel Garda Station as it remembers that it’s 100 years since its moment in history
Social Distance Meet up in Erskine Childers’ Park
Friends, Maureen Hartnett, Helen Moylan and Joan Kenny enjoy a coffee and a scone on Bank Holiday Monday June 1 2020
Fond Memories of a Trip to Ireland
With more than 11 million annual visitors kept home by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tourism Ireland has released a short video to remind prospective travelers they “can still dream of future holidays and adventures.” The campaign, titled “I will return: Fill your heart with Ireland,” arrives at the 20th anniversary of my first visit in May 2000.
And that recalls my dearest experience of Ireland.
At Dublin Airport, I handed my new Irish/E.U. passport to the customs agent, having obtained citizenship through foreign birth registration. He waved me into the country without question. Then, as I waited for my luggage, I thought I heard my name called on the public address system.
“That couldn’t be me,” I thought. “Nobody knows me here.”
I took a taxi to my bed and breakfast in Portmarnock. The room wasn’t ready, but the innkeeper secured my suitcase and I took a mid-morning walk on the nearby strand.
When I returned, my host answered a telephone call.
“Yes, he is here,” he said.
It was for me.
The voice at the other end of the line–and it was still a line–belonged to a woman in her 60s, a retired school teacher, the unmarried daughter of a North Kerry man. His brother was my mother’s father, who emigrated shortly before the Easter Rising.
My grandfather married a North Kerry women in Pittsburgh, where several of their siblings and other relations also lived. Because of these connections to Ireland, deepened by the citizenship through decent process, I shared my travel itinerary with my mother. She passed the details to her sister, who maintained regular contact with the woman on the phone, the one who had me paged at Dublin Airport. Her name was Eithne.
My plans to meet the Irish relations were unformed, something to be figured out during the trip, if any of them even cared to meet me. A holy trinity of Irish and Irish-American women assured those introductions. My plans changed within an hour of my arrival. Eithne insisted that I lodge with her.
The B&B host graciously released me from my booking. Eithne’s Jack Russell Terrier, named Beano, sniffed me suspiciously, but deigned that I enter the house on Griffith Avenue, Dublin, near Corpus Christi Catholic Church. I was very welcome in Ireland.
Signs of the Times
Summer 2020 will be remembered for the many shop signs advising customers of new procedures in place during the pandemic of 2020.
Carrolls is open
Zingyzest is to open soon
O Sullivan Cycles
St. John’s, sadly, is closed
Canon Declan Working During the Crisis
I met Canon Declan O’Connor, another frontline hero in The Square. He has been working throughout this period of restrictions and adapting to saying mass behind closed doors and conducting funerals to small groups of mourners.