Miriam’s Musings

Welcome back Roscommon…you’ve been sorely missed!

With the lifting of (some) restrictions, and a clear determination to let the season of goodwill shine, no matter what the remainder of 2020 throws at us, Roscommon town’s magical atmosphere proved to be the perfect backdrop for the long-awaited (and what was, up to last week) delayed Christmas spirit.

As I strolled through the streets, an air of excitement, which was almost palpable, permeated the frigid December air as seasonal shoppers, having endured a rigorous Level 5 lockdown, flocked to the stores to spend, spend, spend. Now perhaps I’m just a tad hormonal, but the sense of normality and goodwill that is evident right across this county has actually brought a lump to my throat. Altogether now…aaahh! However, while the mood among retailers was one of guarded optimism, with some, (rightly), doing head counts and pointing customers towards hand sanitisers as they entered their premises, it was clear by their well-stocked shelves, that, despite the fact they’re navigating unchartered waters, they were fully prepared for the seasonal rush.

I was delighted to be able to walk into one of our county town’s lovingly restored landmarks, (which also happens to be my youngest daughter’s favourite Roscommon restaurant), Gleeson’s Townhouse to enjoy a coffee, a scone and soak up their beautiful traditional Christmas décor. I have to say, given the warm and friendly welcome each staff member bestowed upon guests, it was clear how much everyone was delighted to be back on duty.

Mind you, for me, the highlight of the move to Level 3 will be a trip to the hair and beauty salon. I could hardly contain my excitement when booking in for next week’s colour patch test! How sad is that? You see, eldest daughter has been my stylist, but now, due to her focusing her business entirely on aesthetics, it’s time to find a new one locally. Hubby says he’s been doing novenas for the “poor unfortunate stylist”. His words, not mine; everyone knows I’m an absolute joy to deal with. Not even slightly fussy. I’ve already managed to visit the nail bar, so the talons are on fleek, but, in an effort to feel normal again, it’s essential my hair and lashes are also pristine.

Mind you, I’ll be all dolled up with nowhere to go. You see, despite the fact that, like most people, I’m desperate to sit on a high stool, clink glasses and socialise, myself and he-who-is-regretting-his-brave-‘poor stylist’ comment will be avoiding large gatherings, and instead confining our Christmas circle to close family and our fur babies over the festive season.

However, if I could be so bold as to offer readers a bit of yuletide advice this week, it would be to remember that right now, across this county, every single one of Roscommon’s local and independently run shops and businesses are depending on you to support them. These are the very retailers who not just go above and beyond in an attempt to cater to our needs; they also add so much to this county’s overall culture by sponsoring your kid’s football club, and by contributing to the colourful Christmas lights and decorations. In addition, come spring, they’ll also be the ones you’ll be canvassing for your TY teen’s work experience placement. So stay loyal, stay local and be each other’s lifeline. Nollaig Shona agus siopa go sábháilte.


Need help? Please be brave and accept it

Traditionally, incidences of domestic violence tend to spike over the Christmas season. However, it’s no secret that during this Covid-enforced festive lockdown situation, those who are on the receiving end of an abuser’s savagery may worry that it may be harder to get help. It won’t, so please reach out.

I’ve written previously about my own experiences as a child who grew up in a violent home. However, it was not my darling dad who was the violent one – he, like me, was on the receiving end of the rage and the wrath of our abuser. To that end, given the combination of restrictions, the stress around contracting Covid, and with social outlets being severely limited, I’d urge families to please look out for each other. All of these factors, when combined, will serve to give a cowardly abuser the perfect excuse to lash out, be that verbally, physically, sexually or emotionally, the result of which will place many families in an extremely grave situation.

Now while I do know that this pandemic has drastically affected the work of our local outreach services across every single segment of society, it must be stressed that it has not stopped them. Therefore if you’re in a vulnerable/abusive situation, (whether male or female), and you want and need help to break free from the individual doing you harm, please call Women’s Aid’s 24 hour helpline on 1800 341900. For Men’s Aid, please call their national helpline at 01-5543811. In an emergency always, always dial 999. I know for a fact that our lovely Roscommon Gardaí, working under the auspices of Operation Faoiseamh, will continue to prioritise calls from vulnerable citizens.

Remember readers, an abuser will do all in his/her power to erode your life and your children’s lives. He/she will try hard to keep you stuck at the bottom of their well of brutality, but you deserve to be safe and happy. So, this week, pick up that phone, seek help and allow your healing to begin. God bless.


Oh we need a little Christmas…

Taking the kiddies to see Santa this year won’t be as simple as it has been in previous years. Indeed, Covid restrictions have severely limited the annual traditions for most Roscommon families…ours included; and for businesses too.

There’ll be no office party this year; I mean who wants to play pass the parcel when you’re stone cold sober and sitting ten feet apart? Not me. Who wants to strangle the high notes to ‘All I want for Christmaaaasss is yoooooouuuuu’ whilst clutching the mic with gloved hands and wearing a mask? Again, not me. However, if panto has been a pivotal part of your Christmas tradition, then read on, because there are plenty of online events happening right across the country, each one set to salvage the festive spirit.

And, for something closer to home, check out our very own Roscommon Arts Centre who, in a valiant attempt to prevent Covid from stealing Christmas, has planned a series of virtual events guaranteed to save not just the day, but the entire season. Oh no they haven’t…oh yes they have. Note to the Ed, please don’t call the cliché police on me!