The Beast of times (well, for children anyway!) 



It’s Sunday evening, at the end of a very unusual week, and as I’m sitting at the kitchen table trying to write this column, it’s hard to accurately describe how I feel about the heavy falls of snow that more or less brought the majority of the country to a full stop for the last three or four days.

  Back to Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday morning…and obviously, while most of us were in slumberland, snow was falling all around us. When I opened the front door, some time after 7 am, it was to a completely white, snow-covered garden. It didn’t take long to figure out that driving to work to Athlone was totally out of the question.

  For those of you who don’t know it (which would be most of you), I live at the bottom of a pretty steep hill…which leads to Kilbegnet Church. Many times over the last 30-odd years, it’s been a fairly accurate barometer as to the state of the roads. If you can’t make it up the hill, you probably won’t make it anywhere. Very early on Thursday morning I realised that the hill was almost impassable.

  In the space of about half an hour, I saw many cars have a go, and fail to get to the top, including one car which attempted to drive up towards the Church, only to reappear totally sideways, heading back the way it had come. At one stage it was uncomfortably close to my front wall, but eventually, after much huffing and puffing, the car got itself straightened out and took the slightly easier route to Creggs, via Milford Cross.

  And so I settled into a day of a total doss, but after a couple of hours I decided I should try to get to Creggs. Myself and the Volvo hit off the Milford Cross way, and despite a large covering of snow on the road, I made it safely to Mikeen’s shop, where I was amazed to find that there were many other like-minded souls, who were already suffering from cabin fever.

  Talking of cabin fever, and all the inconveniences that all of us adults had to put up with, a little part of me, maybe even a big part of me, was like a child – excited with all the snow around us. I could only envy all the children who had so much fun making snowmen, and snowdogs, and igloos, and all kinds of wonderful creations. 

  As a person who has great memories of snow-covered days from many years ago, I am well aware that many years from now, all of those children will always fondly remember the snows of 2018.

  And so we got through Friday…by  Saturday I had had enough, and went off to work in Athlone, which wasn’t exactly my most brilliant move of all time, as I only saw two people the whole day. However, mentally, it was great for me, as I realised the worst was over and normality was returning and the big thaw was almost here.

  Saturday night saw another big improvement, and myself and a very large crowd made it to Mikeen’s (this time the pub), where three of my neighbours –Jacinta Hanley, Bobby Jennings and Gerry Keegan – were co-hosting a table quiz.

  All the proceeds were going towards the development of Mulhern Park in Fuerty. It was very successful and a good bit of fun. I was the quizmaster, with the questions kindly compiled by Bert Curley, and despite a moment or two of controversy I luckily managed to escape without any serious injuries.

  The trio – that is Jacinta, Bobby and Gerry – were delighted with the response. Between the quiz and a well-supported raffle, they managed to reach their financial target.

  All that remains for them now is to carry off the OsKaRs, which I’m sure they are well capable of doing, and I look forward to their post-OsKaRs party.


Oscars: Saoirse’s day will come


Talking of Oscars, and as it’s now Monday morning, the world – and particularly the Irish side of it – is coming to terms with the fact that our Saoirse, which is of course Saoirse Ronan, didn’t manage to get her hands on one of the golden gongs.

  Unless I am living in cuckooland, it was no surprise, as it was widely flagged that Frances McDormand was nailed on to win it for her performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film that I thought London-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh would pick up an award for as well.

  As for the Wicklow woman, of whom I am a big fan – particularly the way she seems to have stayed so grounded, despite the huge glamour and pressure of her Hollywood lifestyle – I doubt if she will lose much sleep over missing out. Having already had three Academy Award nominations by the tender age of 23, her day will surely come and she will continue to be one of the biggest attractions on the silver screen.

  Anyway, back to the effects of the big snow, and one of the most likely unfortunate consequences could be that our trip to Twickenham falls by the wayside, as a result of our rugby match against Corrib being postponed on Sunday last.

  This almost certainly means it will be re-fixed for St. Patrick’s weekend, despite the obvious appeal of a possible Irish Grand Slam (although Scotland may have something to say about that this Saturday).

  For all of us, the chance of winning a league title for Creggs after very many years would far outweigh the joy of an Irish Grand Slam, and while we will know for sure in a few days, at the moment we look likely to lose out on the Twickenham trip.

  Let’s hope we win our own game and clinch that long-awaited league title.


And Finally…


Finally for this week, it’s amazing how emergency situations bring out the best  and the worst of people. The snow certainly showed us both sides of human nature.

  On the one hand we had great acts of kindness, where people helped each other out by clearing roads and looking out for the welfare of their own friends and neighbours, while on the other hand, we had the disgusting acts of arson in Tallaght, where at least six stranded snowbound cars were burned out by the worst kind of scumbags.

  Throw in the numerous acts of looting, along with the smash and grab destruction of the Lidl supermarket (also in Tallaght), and it shows that no matter what happens, there are always lowlifes out there who will try to take advantage of others’ misfortunes.


‘Til next week, Bye for now