Path Finder

I ventured out on my own steam for the first time last week.  The others were crashed out after a journey to visit a sick relative who had been admitted to a hospital up country.

It was the day there was to be no builders and they weren’t gone half an hour when the plumbers arrived.

The Pelawatta house is in a very nice area and quite close to a busy main intersection, although you can’t hear the traffic from the house.  If  you cross over the intersection and walk about a mile in one direction you reach the parliament grounds.  They are spacious and flat and ideal for walking.

Turn right at the intersection traffic lights and you have every kind of shop you can imagine.   I can’t remember ever living where I was so close to the shops before or had such a variety on the doorstep.

I have a reputation for shopping and when Maureen and I were on our great tour in 1999 we managed to shop at every stop on our six-week itinerary, even in the outback where there was nothing to see at first glance.   Like bloodhounds seeking their prey, we could home in on any shop in the vicinity.  In fact, we had shopped so much by the time we reached Sydney we had to dump a lot of the clothes we had brought out from the UK in aid of a dog and cat animal rescue group my school friend was running.  I had seen Sally only briefly once in the thirty-six years since we were mad teenagers together in Edinburgh, but had corresponded regularly over the years.

Animals were her first love and her home housed one beautiful dog and an incalculable number of cats.  Maureen and I tried surreptitiously to count the cats and reached the late teens but were never sure if we had missed any or counted the same cat twice.  Today Sally lives in the country at the back of the Blue Mountains with an even greater number of animals including horses, most rescued, some removed from people she believed were cruel to them and that she could do a better job!

With everyone asleep, last week I made the decision to find my way out of the garden estate and to the shops.   The estate is a rabbit-warren of houses, no two are identical and they are all close together.  This house is detached but neighbours in any direction are only a yard or so away.  Saying that you would never know as there is far less noise, if any, than there was in Ja Ela.

The houses are mainly gated and garages are alongside the gates.  I went along our little lane and turned right.  When we drive in we drive up a steep hill turn right and then drive down to access our driveway.  I thought it would be too steep for me to manage.

It was around 5 pm and with dusk approaching I turned right and right again. The roads are narrow with passing places for vehicles and the surface of the roads in some cases are perfectly finished and in others, of compacted red sand, or loose gravel and I came across some traffic bumps to slow down passing cars.

There was a right turn leading to a fairly steep hill which I tried to avoid and went straight ahead but discovered it was a dead end leading into someone’s home.  So I retraced my steps and tackled the steep hill.  It was only yards long and as I got to the top and turned left, to my dismay two dogs came barking towards me.

I froze but to my relief a lovely lady, the owner of one of the dogs, came out of her bottle green door and called her dog back.   The other dog ran off.  The lady had long dark hair and wore a deep purple kaftan.  ‘He’s only saying hello,’ she explained.   I returned a tentative ‘hello’ apologetically and went on my way without looking back.

At the end of this road I turned left and had reached a main road which led on to the large intersection.    The traffic was increasing on the road as well as on the pavement.  Men and boys in neat shirts and trousers, many holding rolled-up umbrellas, were purposefully walking in the opposite direction to me.

There are military bases in the direction they were heading so maybe the teenage boys were the sons of officers at the base.

I passed the Dialog phone shop where you can add credit to your mobile, a café selling butter cakes and breads, then a vegetable shop.  The dialog and vegetable shop were open to the street although I expect they must have some kind of shutter when they close up for the night.

A man was selling something cooked at the corner of the road and people bought paper pokes of the food and ate it with their fingers as they continued on their way home.  I couldn’t see what they were eating and didn’t want to ask in case I was expected to buy.

I needed my hair cut and a pedicure but passed by the first hairdressers as they advertise full bridal packages, facials and specialise in traditional wedding head dresses.

Only a few yards further up the road there’s a men’s hairdressers on the ground floor and a ladies’ salon to its left, up a steep flight of stairs.   The stairs are tiled and there is no handrail but I got there and at the top opened a glass door and dropped down a step to an immaculate salon.  There was only one wash basin and there were two customers, one with a hair colour applied and her hair pasted stiff in the air.  The other customer was seated in a chair in front of a large mirror and the only hairdresser I could see was styling her hair.

The hairdresser has lovely dark eyes and her black hair was neatly woven into a plait which hung down her back.  She was dressed in a black top and trousers and smiled warmly and pleasantly as she enquired how could she help me.  I explained and we agreed I would return the following morning at 9 am.    I descended warily down the white tiled stairs holding on to the wall.

I wanted to cross the road to the supermarket but the traffic was wild and furious.   I looked round at the traffic lights and wondered where the pedestrian walking sign was but in the growing darkness  couldn’t find it.

I decided I had ventured far enough on my own for one day and would see how far I could get the next day after the hairdressers.



Shingles and all that jazz

I am into my second week with shingles. It is painful. unpleasant and restrictive. I got the antiviral medicine within 12 hours of the first blister erupting, also painkillers and stuff to make me sleep but had to go back to the gp within the first week as the painkillers firstly prescribed were not touching the pain.

I was already on antibiotics having been diagnosed with pleurisy two days before the blister appeared. I don’t do things by half – ever.

Of course we have had some fabulous weather, well really fabulous for West Cork. The sun is shining and I had just got the man who helps in the garden to put the swinging hammock up. One of the pills I am on instructs me to stay out of the sun so even though I have the canopy on the hammock have had to stay mostly indoors.

There are whales just off the coast at the moment. How I would love to be out on a boat with my camera. One chap encountered a humpback when he was kayaking only yards from the coast near Dunmore House Hotel. There have been lots of sightings out of Baltimore too and Baltimore is rapidly becoming the whale watching capital of Ireland. We are fortunate to have some really experienced guides on the whale watching boats and it is a huge draw for tourists.

I went along to the Tom Crean play performed at the Celtic Ross Hotel – and it was brilliant. And the Vespertine Quintet played Grove House, Schull a few days before. Equally inspiring such talented musicians and of course the inimitable Jessie Kennedy who is shortly to launch her new CD entitled The Carbery Songs. The launch is appropriately in St Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery. It promises to be a memorable evening. Having heard a couple of the songs already I am so looking forward to hearing the rest of the CD,

There is so much to look forward to and West Cork really comes into its own at this time of the year, that is if you are a lover of literature, music, and the arts. Spoiled for choice and so lucky to live here.

Whirlwind few days

There’s so much happening these days it is all a bit mad.  But that’s life in West Cork.  The first session of the Fiddle Fair was on Thursday in the Castle with the two Dermots – Dermot Mclaughlin and Dermot Byrne.  Great music and great venue, Dun na Séad Castle.  Many of their pieces of music reminded me of the tunes I listened to in my youth and they were originally from Scotland, or maybe they were originally Irish, went to Scotland and came back again – whatever there was a touch of nostalgia for me.  I didn’t know any of the names of the tunes but knew the tunes.

It was a gentle introduction of what was to come.

But Saturday dawned and suddenly my day was pulled apart.  There was a little girl who was receiving her First Holy Communion wearing her grandmother’s communion dress, worn by the grandmother 48 years ago.  A lovely story so notebook and camera gathered up, I headed to Ballydehob.

But firstly there were sheep to be seen to.  They were grazing in my friend’s garden but grass shorn so job completed, the farmer and another friend had been rounded up to move said sheep to new pastures.  A few circuits of the garden enabled the sheep to be directed into the waiting trailer and off they went bleating a sorry farewell.

Next to the Church where a mass of excited children, newly booted and suited, washed and scrubbed and gleaming were exiting the church into the sunshine, happily posing for photographs.  Images of this day will stay with them for the rest of their lives.  Mums and dads, grandmas, granddads, aunts, uncles, siblings all in the finery smiling into the lens.  Ellen posed happily for me with her mum and dad and grandma.   Darling little girl with the brightest smile and so like her grandma in the photograph of 48 years ago.

Then we headed to Schull to track down another friend, whose birthday it was.  Armed with a very special ice cream, flowering plant and a bag full of treats and gifts we eventually found her.  Spent a wonderful afternoon, sharing the ice cream eating shortbread biscuits, drinking tea and coffee and chatting and laughing in the sunshine overlooking the islands and the sea.   Decadent days, but birthday wishes exchanged and very happy we had shared the couple of hours with her.

Back to the Fiddle Fair for the Saturday night session.  The Foghorn Stringband with Nadine’s smile the warmest greeting you could wish for.  She is so lovely and she and Sammy, Caleb and Reeb are so welcome back to the Fiddle Fair.  Their Old Time music, is familiar to us all and really no one wanted them to leave the stage.

Next up were Daimh with special guest Eilidh Shaw.  This was a Scottish group, but one guy was from  Canada another from California although living in Scotland.  The voice of the girl Gaelic singer was as sweet and gentle as an angel and although I don’t have any Gaelic here too I knew the songs she sang from my childhood.   They played their hearts out and for some it was their first visit to Ireland and I do hope they come back again.

Jeremy Irons was in the audience on the Saturday night and it was standing room only as the marquee held a capacity crowd and lots of people were just too late to get tickets.

I got in around 1 am and spent Sunday doing the write up for Jessie Kennedy’s new cd, the story of Ellen and the communion dress and generally catching up.

Today was the icing on the cake with a session in the Riverside Cafe in Skibbereen.  The Foghorn Stringband played a couple of sessions and they are a joy to listen to and to watch.   The lads from Cape Breton, Troy MacGillivray, Shane Cook and Jake Charron played too – making sweet magic with their fiddles and guitar.  Others joined in but what a wonderful way to spend a Monday afternoon or indeed any afternoon.   I met a friend for lunch at the Riverside and to join in the Fiddle Fair post mortem session so we ended up spending the whole afternoon there.  Had to move my car in case the traffic warden was about.  In fact I should have moved the car twice, but Brendan McCarthy senior was dancing with Nadine and we were all singing again when The Foghorn Stringband set up for the second time.  So it was 6 pm before the lunchtime session finished.

I said to Sammy and Reeb and Nadine that we do this all the time in West Cork – and we mostly do.   A mad mad world and here’s to the next time.

A man’s world where women are invisible.

I want to write about how I was ignored today at the counter in the hardware store. Most of the men being served were farmers. I was next in the queue but the queue is landscape shaped as the counter is spread almost the whole width of the shop with several tills. I was next but an elderly farmer leaning intently over the counter was the next one to be served by the young salesman who came out of the back office. I am of course female, old and pretty nondescript and definitely not a farmer.

I did say,’I was next.’ but I was similarly ignored as the ‘men’ went about their business.

I walked to the front of the shop and called to the girl who usually mans the till nearest the exit but was busy sweeping the floor, ‘Can you see me?’ She looked up enquiringly and said, ‘Yes!’ And I replied, ‘Well apparently I am invisible to everyone at the back of the shop as you have to be male to be served there! And it’s not the first time I have been ignored!!’

She did her best to placate me, got another sales guy to serve me, but I left with nothing and will go back tomorrow in a better frame of mind. And I will observe the unwritten rule in this store anyway, ‘it is indeed a man’s world and women should know their place, three places behind and subservient to any man who is in the queue or non queue as it is!’

The Fork Lift and the Moon Car

RNLI Union Hall 1






Yesterday I declined a lift in a fork lift so I could be hoisted fifty or more feet in the air in order I could take an aerial photograph of some pretty fabulous cars, even if it was for the RNLI. Thankfully there was someone on hand who was much younger and braver and who could handle my camera.

Union Hall West Cork is a pretty special place, full of pretty special people. I always try to believe there is good in everyone.  Mostly everyone has good in them somewhere but some people make it very hard to find!

But yesterday was a spectacularly good day with people being at their best and doing their best for others.   It was one of those brilliantly sunny days when West Cork glows at its best. All eyes were on the fleet of pretty special cars which had arrived in the village to support Union Hall RNLI.   As I go by colours usually to identify any vehicle, please forgive me if I mention only three which were easily identifiable even to me.

(To be truthful I had the details given to me.)

Of most significance was The Moon Car which many vintage car enthusiasts were seeing for the first time. This vehicle has a pretty interesting history and I googled it to get the information which follows. It is a bright oh so shiny yellow and was gleaming at its best yesterday

Pat McSweeney of Ballineen owns the gleaming yellow immaculate 1919 Moon Car, a beautifully restored Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. The car is said to have disappeared on the evening of 21st March in 1922 when it was used in an attack on Crown forces disembarking in Queenstown, Co Cork from their base in Spike Island. The Moon Car was hidden and rediscovered in the 1980s and eventually acquired by Rolls Royce restorer James Black in Co Antrim.   You will read much more of the history of this vehicle on line.

RNLI Union Hall 3RNLI Union Hall 2







Main organisers of the event in support of Union Hall RNLI fundraising branch on Sunday, April 26, were Crosshaven Veteran, Vintage and Classic Motor Club with members of a number of other vintage car clubs coming along in support.

RNLI Union Hall 2







Winners of the Buckley’s Bar Best Car trophy were Phillip Tiby and Sal Tiby Perks of Youghal, with their 1936 Wolseley, at 25 horsepower, the biggest one made. The vintage group were travelling on to attend another car event in Bandon,

Also on show in magnificent condition was the1938 2530 red Rolls Royce, owned by Patrick Burns of Blackrock, Cork city.

In great West Cork fashion refreshments were served in Myross Rowing club house to all who attended the event. The cars were then lined up on the causeway against a backdrop of a memorial to all those lost at sea either in the adjacent waters or from the surrounding villages who had perished at sea in other parts of the world.

Another brilliant West Cork day to add to the many.

Weekday lunches

It’s wonderful weather in West Cork these days. Warm and sunny although it is supposed to change for the weekend.

What is it about weekday lunches that start around 1 pm and you scurry to get home in time for the six o’clock news, although the news today is distressing and painful. On driving home I hear of a settlement to a little boy of €3.5 million for his care for the next five years. The HSE finally admitted responsibility for his paralysis and apologised. His poor parents had to take on the system. Then there are the unknown numbers who have died in the Med on boats which were no more than the coffin ships of the past.

But we have whiled a few hours away in good company, enjoying sunshine in the garden, gathering round a coal fire in the cool of the airy house. The food was pretty incredible too, and each of us were given a doggy bag to take home so supper is supplied.

The UK is in the throes of election fever, Ireland bubbles on with news that Prince Charles and his wife are to visit both North and South next month, and the next scandal will probably be about the properties which were taken over and sold on too cheaply with the Irish taxpayer picking up the bill, but we were in another world.

Back to the lunch – it is so decadent to sit around enjoying good company, great food, pretty magnificent wines and general conversation, catching up with those who have seemed to hibernate this long winter. We are all just that little bit greyer, personally a bit plumper, memories fading, and some with hearing aids sheltering in shell-like crevices.

A charming long lazy lunch on a Tuesday? What kind of people have time to do that? How mad is that, but then how mad is West Cork living. As one companion declared today, ‘You must agree, you have to be slightly mad to live here or you wouldn’t survive!’

And I do agree with her. Here’s to the next time. Anyone for a haggis Sunday lunch? That’s next on my agenda.

Sierra stands for Stagger

It’s like another language – stagger, crawler and runner.

Which one are you? Or are you none of them?

you Last year I was introduced to the terms used by airport staff to categorise people who had called for assistance either on arrival at airports or between departure points.

Sierra stands for stagger. Romeo for runner and I think Charlie is the code word they used for crawler.

Even though my late husband had required wheelchair assistance in the final years when he was still able to travel, I had never come across these terms before.

It was whilst I was on the first of five trips away last year that I smashed my foot, even before we got to Cork airport.

A minibus with broken side doors, no step to help access the back door of the vehicle, necessitated the assistance of the six foot plus driver to help five foot and a bit me climb on. My right left boarded upright and my left leg, even with me being pulled aboard by this giant of a man, just couldn’t make it and buckled in a heap under me.

I couldn’t speak as the tearing of ligaments, tendons and every other piece of me inside my foot broke free and fought for space as they ripped and began to swell and contort.

I limped throughout my journey and two flights to Marrakech and spent the first few days on a roof top sun lounger elevating my foot. We travelled to Rabat and back and I gamely carried on wincing as I went.

Things and my foot did not improve and eventually medical advice was to request assistance when travelling.

It was in Gatwick airport where I first heard the phrase, ‘I have two Sierras’ used.

A Romeo can walk, maybe not very far which is why they would need help in one of the golf cart type vehicles to cover the distance, often a couple of miles, between departure gates. A Sierra, a stagger, can walk a bit and can climb the stairs to enter the plane. But a crawler will need wheelchair assistance and probably need to be hoisted on to a platform within a vehicle which raises to allow level access into the plane.

I was grateful for the service throughout the time my foot took to heal – some ten months.

I met lots of interesting people during the time I waited in the assisted passenger area, people with all levels of abilities.

I experienced a whirlwind wheelchair journey at breakneck speed through the huge and magnificent Dubai airport. A medical emergency on arrival was dealt with by paramedics before anyone was allowed to leave the flight to carry on to the next stage of the journey.

And I was in danger of missing my connection but my wheelchair driver got me there in plenty time.

People are generally very polite and agreeable when they see someone in a wheelchair and will step back and out of the way. What they don’t do is look at you. It’s as if you are from another planet or perhaps they are worried that your lack of mobility might be infectious?

I met a gorgeous jolly black lady who was quite elderly. We were sitting patiently waiting for wheelchairs to take us through to the departure gates and she listed all the trips she had made even within the first three months of the year. She was a seasoned traveller.

She had sold her house and was spending the proceeds travelling between all her extended family. ‘I travel light and I am keeping going until the money runs out,’ she confided. ‘There will be nothing left for my family to fight over,’ she giggled. ‘And I am enjoying life!’

There’s a moral in there somewhere for all of us.

Accounts, emails or Loom Bands?

Are you ever in the position that you have promised to do something and have completely forgotten about it?

The six year old grandson requested more loom bands when he visited me yesterday. I completely forgot yesterday evening, remembered when I went to bed and then forgot when I woke up early this morning. Switched on the computer to catch up with emails and accounts and then suddenly remembered the loom bands.

Which to tackle first? No choice really. He never forgets a thing and he will call round for his loom band, ‘Cork colour please, red and white,’ either before he goes to church or immediately after – so emails and accounts are again on the long finger.

Steve Coogan and Philomena

The following lengthy beautiful true story was first published last year (2014) in the free West Cork newspaper, The West Cork Times, which is also read extensively on line.  The original version, with the Coogan family photographs, may still be read on line if one logs on to coogan and philomena – a family story.

It was my great pleasure to write this, and if I were a ‘real journalist’, I could have made dramatic headlines in the tabloids, but that’s not my way or the way the Coogan family wished this told.  This is a family story about real people we would all be privileged to know.  They have great ethics, good standards and I hope you find this as heartwarming as I did and still do.

“Steve Coogan and Philomena – a Family Story

“During an interview in West Cork a few years ago, Steve Coogan stated, ‘I like to do things I am passionate about.’   That passion was to the fore when he quite rightly took on the media during the UK’s Leveson Inquiry.

However when I saw a screening of the film ‘Philomena’ earlier this year I wondered why Coogan would have any connection or passion for the story of Philomena Lee.

Why would this highly successful man co-write, star and produce a story of a woman’s 50 year search for her illegitimate son – a story that could never have the ending we all hope for?    It would have been so easy for this story and film to fail and become a media target.  So why would he put himself out on a limb, exposing the frailties and cruelty of the Catholic Church?

I believed I had the answer in my notes of an interview Steve did with Greg Dyke during the Schull Film Festival, a few years ago, but I only had part of the story.  Thanks to his aunt, Patricia Coogan O’Dell, here’s the real story of the Coogan family and the background to what I think made Steve Coogan the man he is today.

Stephen Coogan grew up in north Manchester, one of seven children, five boys and two girls, one of whom was adopted.  But the story really starts with Stephen’s great grandfather, Thomas Coogan, a tailor from Kilkenny and his great grandmother, Margaret Coogan, who was from Cork.  They left Ireland as economic migrants to survive in Manchester before World War I.

Pierce Coogan, Steve’s grandfather was born in Manchester.  Pierce always maintained he had the good fortune to be educated by the Christian Brothers.  He left school well-educated, able to play musical instruments, a qualified electrician and with the manners of a gentleman.

He believed education was the key to success so three of his five children went to good grammar schools, including Tony, Steve’s father, as did Steve himself and most of his siblings.

Patricia Coogan O’Dell explains, ‘Even though there wasn’t tons of money, education was always very important.  Most of us had very little interest in sport of any kind.  We read The Guardian – red tops didn’t come into the house – and we went to the local library each week.   Steve’s family lived in a rambling Edwardian house they owned, although the family had socialist leanings.’

Steve’s grandparents, Pierce and Florence Coogan, had the Astoria Irish dance hall and then the Assembly rooms in Manchester.  These dance halls proved to be a Mecca for Irish people at the time.   Pierce brought Joseph Locke over and then the show bands so there was an established line of entertaining in the Coogan family.

Pierce Coogan was an incredibly kind person, lending people money knowing they’d never be able to pay it back.  He felt a huge sense of responsibility to people who hadn’t had the same opportunities, particularly the young Irish boys who arrived off the boat train with nothing more than what they stood up in.

Very often they would stay with the Coogan family until Pierce had sorted them out with lodgings and a job.  Many found their wives amongst the Irish nurses who flocked to the ballroom as Pierce laid on free transport and free entry for them.  There are people in West Cork and all over Ireland who met there.

Pierce held many charity dances to raise money for orphanages and the convents which looked after the aged and unwanted – the list was endless.  Pierce together with his wife Florence, always worked incredibly hard, their ethos being to treat people as they would have liked to be treated themselves.

Tony, Steve’s father, played saxophone in Pierce Coogan’s orchestra, with Steve’s uncle Thomas on the drums.  One evening Tony spotted an extremely beautiful girl, Kathleen Coonan from Mayo, in the crowd and the rest as they say is history.

Even with their seven children, Tony and Kathleen fostered children too. Steve Coogan recalls, ‘My father was a computer engineer for IBM and my mum raised the family.  They did short term fostering, but on top of those children, there would be abused kids, or kids who would be made wards of court.  They often fostered a brother and sister to keep them together.’

Some of the children came from horrific situations and were unbelievably traumatised.   It was often hard for Steve and his siblings to tolerate the effect they had on the household.  Steve’s parents have always “lived their Christian principles” rather than just given lip service to their Religion and this ethos has been followed by most of the Coogan family.    Even today, although he is almost 80 Tony, together with Kathleen, spend a great deal of their time on charity work.

In 1968 at a time when there was still a stigma attached to unmarried mothers, Steve’s aunt Mollie, aged 27, became pregnant.  She felt she couldn’t put her parents through the humiliation so against her parents’ wishes and of her own volition, Mollie went to the Good Shepherd Convent.  She experienced a dreadful time at the Magdalene Laundry.  Mollie intended to give her baby up to Tony and Kathleen for adoption.  Fortunately she couldn’t bear to be parted from her child and they returned home to Pierce and Florence so there was a happy ending to her story.

Patricia Coogan O’Dell who lives in Ballydehob with her husband Chris O’Dell, BSC (British Society of Cinematographers) explains.  ‘When Steve read the book Philomena he was particularly horrified by the iniquitous cruelty which had been inflicted on Philomena Lee by those nuns.  He is very close to his own daughter so would have felt very deeply the pain that Philomena went through at each stage as her tragedy unfolded.

‘Philomena has been a very rewarding project for Steve as he believed in it from day one.  Together with Geoff Pope, he wrote a splendid screenplay which persuaded Judy Dench to be part of it all.  He is a very clever chap, very much like his clever father and grandfather.  I am so glad that people can now see beyond the Alan Partridge character and see Steve Coogan as he is, a man with a very creative mind, capable of much more.  To be awarded the BAFTA for best screenplay has meant a great deal to him.  He is now inundated with all sorts of challenging projects.  I believe that we will continue to be surprised at the range of his considerable talent for many years yet.’

Steve Coogan became a patron of the Fastnet Short Film Festival at the invitation of Chris O’Dell.  Coogan and his company Baby Cow Productions Ltd, the UK television comedy production company, have contributed greatly to the festival by their involvement.

Coogan’s brother Kevin, who is the community leader for L’Arche, Manchester, and Steve recently joined forces to run the  Manchester Marathon.  L’Arche is an international movement which builds faith-based communities for people with learning disabilities in over 30 different countries across the world.

Steve Coogan divided the money he raised between L’Arche and the Rainbow Trust, an organisation which provides support to the families of children with life threatening or life shortening conditions.

Righting wrongs, looking after the less able, and continuing the giving is a trait most Irish people share.  It seems to me that the Coogans are continuing the good works their forebears began and this explains, at least to me, why Steve Coogan had to right the wrong done to Philomena Lee.

You can catch the man, the film and more at this year’s Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival on Sunday 25th.  One may visit for further information and bookings.

Thanks to Patricia Coogan O’Dell and Chris O’Dell for their help contribution to this article and for the Coogan family photographs.”

(c) Carol Gilbert


Spring days

It’s a wonderful West Cork day. Blue skies and next to no breeze. Spring has sprung hopefully. Dads on bikes, guarding little boys and girls as they cycle down the country roads. Saw a couple of people in short sleeves at the garage on the Cork Road! My castaway wallflowers are in full bloom, but then they never stop and the crocuses are peeping through the tub full of grass and weeds. It will freeze tonight but with a day like today there’s the optimism of what is to come with longer days and warmer climes.FullSizeRender (1)
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