Lazy Afternoon in Kinsale

IMG_0221Spent a gloriously relaxing day yesterday in Kinsale accompanied by Marguerite, who is one of the few people I know who can also spend time constructively doing nothing but browsing, window shopping, admiring old buildings, visiting art galleries and spending time checking out every interesting coffee shop we see. Yesterday it was the turn of@The Lemon Leaf and @The Cosy Cafe, both of whom we’d highly recommend, particularly the former, whose staff was so welcoming and friendly. If you’re a book lover, pop into the Bookstor, a great place to get lost in for a while and after all the eating, we assuaged our guilty consciences and expanding waist lines with a walk along the Scilly Way.

Next destination is Cobh!😁

 

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Meg after her grooming. I think I should book myself in as well😕

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Our First Car

Ford Anglia 105E AS frontThe fact that Ford is celebrating its hundred years in Cork this year brings back memories of our first car. It was a sleek grey, Ford Anglia. I remember the gleaming seats and the intoxicating scent of newly polished leather. I also remember my brother nearly slamming the car door on my Grandfather’s fingers which he snatched out of the way just in time and my mother whipping my brother out of the car and giving him a clout across the ear for being so careless! I even recall the number plate: MIF 981. The excitement I felt when we purchased our first car has never been replicated! Those were the days when they manufactured real cars – even if you needed a private oil well to keep them going!

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Christmas Tidings in Sugar Hill.

Why, in the name of Christ, Peggy wants to know, are people going around like blue arsed flies buying food like there’s no tomorrow? She’s convinced there’s some kind of a want in people around this time of year. The shops closed for two days, she says, and every óinseach in the country, apart from herself, of course, completely losing the run of themselves with food and drink and Christmas lights – and shops and garden centres charging an arm and a leg for Christmas trees that aren’t related to a tree, never mind a Christmas tree. Jeez, the woman is ranting non – stop since the 8th of December. If she were a character in an Agatha Christie novel, instead of a pensioner in Sugar Hill village, she’d be found stabbed to death long ago, under the mistletoe or dumped inside in a slurry pit or something. My head is only pounding from her, she’s been talking at me, like a fecking echo, since, like, forever, and for two pins, I’d stick the carving knife into her without a qualm, take my chances with the law and plead insanity because of the season that’s in it.

Now the fact that I’m fit to kill her doesn’t mean, of course, the woman hasn’t a point about Christmas and shopping and the total idiocy of the entire human race. For instance, I was inside in Super Value the other day and was actually physically knocked into the cereal shelves by Lourda Kennefick, taking a dangerous swing around the corner of the aisle, her view completely blocked by a mound of slice pans and barm bracks stacked up in the trolley in front of her. I mean, that woman is a complete basket case at the best of times but she’s so cracked at this time of the year, it would be an act of charity to lock her away completely for the duration of the holidays. And another thing, how  anyone is expected to listen to Little Drummer Boy, like three hundred times a day in all the supermarkets, without turning into a gibbering, babbling idiot, is beyond me. How the staff remain sane in the middle of all this is a pure mystery. Do they get paid extra for putting up with this persecution or what? Because if they don’t, they certainly should. Jesus!

And Midnight Mass on in churches up and down the country at 8 and 9pm! I mean, how in the name of Jesus himself, can you actually attend Midnight Mass at 8 o clock in the evening? Isn’t the whole point to have the ceremony at, like midnight, so we can celebrate the birth of Christ, who was nowhere near to being born at 7 or 8 pm in the evening. Peggy claims that Joseph, Mary and the donkey, were still trotting around Bethlehem like headless chickens, looking for accommodation at that time of the evening. And you might as well be trying to have a discussion with the gable end wall than argue with Peggy on theological matters. Not only that but you’d hear people asking each other across the street what time is midnight mass on above in the church tonight. Honestly, there are times when you’d wonder if man has learned anything at all from his existence in this world for the last couple of million years! And all this change because people are pissed drunk by 10 o clock and going in to mass, staggering and puking and fighting in the aisles, a total disgrace to themselves and a danger to everyone they encounter. Honest to Christ, do people never actually listen to themselves?

And when….?

What, is it codding me ye are?  Go away, ye simply can’t be fecking serious? Dora is after closing the video shop below in the village! But what in the name of Jesus will we do without Dora? Shure, that woman is an institution in Sugar Hill and beyond. I never remember the village without Dora and the video shop. I mean, I can’t conceive of the village without Dora and the advice and the dvds and the…..

Well, I’m almost speechless, so I am. Aren’t Peggy and Lourda just after arriving in the door now, like two pantomime dames, with the tears streaming down their faces and announcing that Dora, below in the Village Video Shop, is only after packing up her dvds, whoosing Seamus, the cat out from behind the counter for the last time, dispensing her final piece of advice, closing her doors for good and riding off into the sunset with a suitcase full of videos. Ah Jesus, not one of us saw that one coming. And there we were, thinking electing that gobshite Trump was the worst thing that could happen in 2016! Ah for feck’s sake, there’s only one thing for it. I’m bringing out the Irish whiskeys and we’ll drink a toast or two or three. Ah feck it, I can feel my own eyes filling.. I mean, like, Dora!

Vanessa

PS. To Dora, thanks for the memories, the advice, the bad film recommendations and so much more!!

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Did You Know?

Prior to the opening of Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, Catholics had nowhere to bury their dead due to the repressive Penal Laws. It was Daniel O’ Connell who campaigned for the establishment of a burial ground in which both Catholics and Protestants could bury their dead with dignity.

So it was then, that on February 22nd, 1832, the small coffin of Michael Carey, a young boy from Francis Street in Dublin, was placed into a little patch of ground on Dublin’s northside. From such humble beginnings arose a national cemetery, which,so far, has become the resting place of over one million people.
Glasnevin now covers over 124 acres and is the last resting place of such famous people as Daniel O’Connell himself, Michael Collins and his fiancée, Kitty Kiernan, Newmarket born, John Philpott Curran, Charles Stewart Parnell, Kevin Barry, Brendan Behan, Harry Boland, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington to mention just a few.
The cemetery contains over 800,000 unmarked graves. Daniel O’ Connell wanted the poor of Dublin to have a burial place so the funerals of those with no money came from the Magdalene Laundries, the Union and the Workhouses and the poor from the tenements of Dublin.
Life was cheap in the tenements. The buildings themselves were structural death traps. It was said that even driving a nail in a wall could cause the wall to collapse. With all cooking, cleaning and heating done in the same room on an open fire of turf or coal, the risk of fire was huge. Diseases such as TB, diphtheria, smallpox, respiratory problems and typhoid caused thousands of deaths. Children had no shoes and walked in the mud and filth of the streets and often gangrene set in on cut feet. There were no drugs such as penicillin and having a diet of mostly bread and tea, they were unable to withstand such attacks and often these simple cuts proved fatal.
At this time, the poverty, injustice and hardship in Dublin was unparalleled in any other European city.
To be continued:
(From: Glasnevin, Ireland’s Necropolis by Shane MacThomáis).

 
Mary Angland Author's photo.

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Just a Memory

Back in the Day in Broadford.
Delighted to have an article in this week’s issue of Ireland’s Own. Remember the hay floats, wynds and patient horses in the sixties? If you do, the story will take you back down memory lane. Of course, it also means you’re a wee bit older than you might like to believe!

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A Summer of Discontent.

Well, Peggy’s having the life of Reilly. Not only is she back home, complete with fitted boot and a pair of brand new crutches but twice a week, she’s carted off to the hospital for physio in a taxi paid for by the HSE. On top of that, whenever I look out the window, there’s always one of her cronies from the Senior Citizens Group or The ladies Club, popping in to keep her up to date with all the latest gossip. I’ve even seen Lourda Kennefick sidling in the door. I do not know how Peggy puts up with her, that woman would personally drive me into a Home for the Bewildered, if I had to entertain her for more than five minutes at any given time.

No, Peggy’s fine. It’s Dolores we’re worried about now. She simply refuses to talk about it. You know, IT!  If you remember, in the early hours of the morning, down at A&E, the quietness of the hour seemed to have loosened her tongue and she only goes and admits to a totally gobsmacked  Bridie and myself that she and that cabóg Mick, haven’t actually, you know, done it, since St. Patrick’s Day, 2011. Before we could get our senses together to actually ask her any questions, we’re interrupted by the doctor telling us that Peggy’s going to be ok. So the moment to tackle Dolores is lost because when we get back to interrogating her, we find she’s clammed up completely and refuses to say another word. In fact, she acts as if she’s never opened her mouth and said anything at all. And that’s the way it’s been since. The woman is in utter denial about the issue and is carrying on as if the whole thing never happened. (The revelation, the revelation! Shure, by now, the whole village knows the sex hasn’t happened)

Once Bridie got over the shock, she began to find the whole thing hilarious. So she only goes off and tells half the village of Sugar Hill. Well, to be fair, I suppose, she only goes and tells Lourda, but that really amounts to much the same thing. I mean, when Lourda heard it, she was only hyperventilating, with the sheer thrill of getting one over on Dolores. So now everyone in the village and beyond, is looking at the two and sniggering away behind their hands at Mick and feeling sorry for Dolores. But then, it gets worse because one of the lads, working below at Kielys Monumental Sculptures, only starts slagging Mick at the pub the other night. Telling him that it’s not a good idea to get out of practice and that he’d want to start putting in a bit of serious training as it’s well-nigh time he and Dolores got back into the swing of things again and maybe it’s a bit of viagra is all he needs… Well, Mick got into such a temper that he almost had to be pulled off your man before he completely killed him and ended up being barred from the pub for a fortnight.

In the meantime, Dolores is putting all that bottled up energy to some really constructive use and is in rehearsals for the Munster Sean Nós Dancing Finals. They’re to be held down at the Singing Donkey Lounge Bar in the village sometime next month and contestants are coming from all over the province to take part. The rivalry is something fierce with Dolores swearing that if that woman from Cahirsiveen dances off with the title again this year, she’s not only going to lodge an objection with the Sean Nós Council or some such body but she’s going to do a serious injury to your wan from Cahirsiveen.  (I didn’t even know there was such a body as a Sean Nós Council that one could go objecting to) Bridie then only has to go and get her spoke in by saying that the Kerry woman is no more from Cahirsiveen than the man in the moon, that she’s far too mountainy looking to be from anywhere, but the back of beyonds, like the Black Valley or something. In fact, she says she’s not fully convinced that woman is a woman at all – which of course, only winds Dolores up to high dow so now she’s only ten times more paranoid than she was when she started. Peggy tells me later in a confidential whisper that there’s very bad blood between the Kerry wan and Dolores because twice in a row, she’s only gone and wiped Dolores’s face in it by winning the Munster Cup by a whisker.  Jesus, as if I hadn’t picked that up already. Anyway, Dolores wants us all to go down to the pub on the night to support her. Marilyn is a bit dubious and says that if it’s going to be anything like the carry on that took place last year, she’s definitely not going. After all, she says with a sniff, she’s got Ollie’s(her husband) position in the community to think about.  Ollie’s position in the community! I mean, the man is a social welfare officer, for Christ’s sake. I honestly don’t know where Marilyn gets these cracked notions from.

I have to give Dolores credit though. She’s one seriously committed woman. Wine, red bull, vodka, in fact, all alcohol is completely cut from her diet. So is every form of sweet and dessert and she’s only been eating fruit and tofu salads for the past fortnight. Mick is only going mad because he’s strictly a steak, potato and two veg man. He’s ranting and raving to whoever will listen, that eating rabbit food and bushes morning, noon and night is physical and emotional abuse, and pure shite food to be putting up in front of any real man.

A real man, Mick! Jeez!

Vanessa.

PS: Marilyn is just after arriving in now to say that Mick is not talking to Dolores because she let the cat out of the bag about the sex thing, Dolores isn’t talking to Bridie because she blabbed to Lourda and none of them, obviously, is talking to that big-mouthed accent on legs, Lourda. It looks like we could be facing into a very long summer.

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