Miriam’s Musings

Don’t allow Covid to curb your creativity this Hallow‘een

I’m no fan of our government, however, I do feel that, due to economic concerns, their decision to forego a full-on Level 5 lockdown (at the time of writing, because it changes by the hour), was the right one to make. After all, the Level 3 restrictions worked well in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, and while the jury’s still out regarding Dublin, it does appear things are beginning to stabilise. Mind you, Donegal hasn’t fared so well on Level 3; but that’s possibly due to the fact its closest neighbour, Northern Ireland, has seen a dramatic and worrying rise in Covid-19 cases.

I don’t know about you readers, but this whole health crisis has got me totally exhausted. I’ve become very distressed due to the fact I can’t travel to see my family in Dublin. In addition, I’m concerned about my livelihood, and, with the challenges to our health system building by the day, I worry about what the winter months will bring. Although I will add that I do, and I always will, agree that saving lives over saving livelihoods is paramount.

Having said that, it hasn’t escaped my notice that the spooky season is upon us, and, despite the fact I can’t spend Hallow ‘Een in person with my granddaughter this year, our family will still get to celebrate. Point-blank refusing to allow Covid curb our creativity, my lot has decided to hold a virtual celebration from our respective living rooms via Zoom. We’ll show off our costumes, have a game of Trivial Pursuit and play Charades, which, let me tell you folks, gets really interesting following a few G&Ts for Nana…(lemonade for kids). And, while it’s not going to be the ideal Hallow ‘Een, at least the kiddies in our family circle will be able to sit in a warm room and show off their costumes, as opposed to going door-to-door in the freezing cold, their ensemble buried under a puffa jacket! Oíche Shamhna shona daoibh go léir!


I can’t help it, I’m a dental delinquent!

I have a confession to make…I’m a dental delinquent. Let me explain. I suffer from odontophobia, a crippling, irrational and extreme fear of going to the dentist. My anxiety usually begins the second that polite appointment reminder arrives in the letter box reducing me to a babbling mess, leaving me teetering on the edge of throwing up…I liken it to getting an invitation to consume a poisoned meal.

There’s no real reason for my ‘phobia’. I mean, it’s not like I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time going to the dentist either as a child or as an adult, and it’s not like any dentist I’ve ever visited actually caused me severe pain. They’ve always used a local anaesthetic to numb the area – or to shut me up, I’m not quite sure which – and yet, I am never okay when I know I have to sit in that dentist’s chair.

Which brings me to last Wednesday and my visit to Doctor Eleanor Keaveney, a wonderful dentist based in Roscommon town. I arrived at Eleanor’s surgery with all of the enthusiasm of a disappointed movie buff realising they’d cast Russell Crowe as Javert in Les Mis. Reciting hubby’s phone number over and over in my head…well, he is my emergency contact, (and yes, I know I was only having a routine check-up and a dental-clean), but I was so panicked, I thought my legs would give way as I climbed those stairs to the waiting room. What with the whine of the drill, the smell of the disinfectant, the sucking-of-pennies taste of blood in my mouth, was it any wonder I quite literally had an entire escape strategy all planned out?

But there was, and there never is, an emergency exit strategy needed when I visit Dr. Eleanor and her lovely nurse. Eleanor is always friendly, she’s always understanding, and she always asks me how I’m getting on. She understands the theatrics of Roscommon’s biggest drama queen standing right in front of her. She knows what it took for me to get to her surgery that day; she’s seen it before. She knows I wouldn’t be there unless it was absolutely necessary. She knows the second I sit in her chair how much the crippling fear – which has built up and increased sharply over the course of the morning – has now risen so high I’m almost hitting the floor with panic. Eleanor and her dental nurse don’t even bat an eyelid when I start acting like the female lead in one of those Final Destination disaster movies; flailing, crying, and, in general, convinced I’m going to die an excruciatingly painful death…even though the poor woman only uttered the words “open wide Miriam”.

And yes, I’m a disgrace; in fact, to say I’m mortified would be an understatement. But Eleanor is a professional and tells me not to worry, she’s “seen worse”. I’ll bet she hasn’t.

And so, as I was delivering my Oscar-winning performance of a woman about to be murdered by a saliva ejector, the unflappable Eleanor managed to check my teeth, clean, polish and declare them healthy. Whew! And, despite my carry-on, this calm, professional woman invited me back for a six-month check-up and clean in order to keep them that way. Eleanor, you are a wonderful, understanding, non-judgemental human being…oh, and one hell of a dentist. Thank you!


Roscommon People receives national recognition!

Absolutely delighted to see my Roscommon People column on wolf-whistling receive national attention on RTE TV’s Today Show with Maura and Daithi last Friday, October 9th.

As part of renowned author Billy Keane’s Regional Round-Up segment, in mentioning my piece, Billy very kindly described it as…now let me get this correct…“A fantastic article written by a brilliant columnist Miriam Kerins…” Billy’s words, not mine. Scarla for life!

Seriously readers, I am so chuffed…you see, such praise, coming from the son of a great novelist, a playwright and essayist (John B. Keane), has rendered me to feel truly honoured. Proof again folks, (if it were ever needed), that your friendly, family-focused Roscommon People, which is written, edited and produced right here on your doorstep, continues to bring you the most up to date news, reviews and social commentary across the county…and the best part is…it’s all free!


Shop local and keep the money in Roscommon

Given we’re still mired in the middle of a pervasive pandemic, the need to shop local has never been more vital or more important. Therefore folks, as the annual Christmas shopping spree is about to begin, can I implore you all to get into the mindset of supporting local businesses by shopping local.

Now whether this is physically dropping in for some socially distant purchases, or perhaps going online, placing your order, and having it delivered, the choice is yours. Either way, having witnessed first-hand the impact Covid-19 has had on rural businesses, I think it’s time we all resolved to make a united effort to throw our support behind them and keep the money in our own communities.

In order to avoid having a disappointed wife on Christmas morning, (and God knows we don’t need a replay of that scene), can he-who-has-to-be-given-strict-instructions-when-buying-me-a-pressie please take note!