Blessed kindness

Posted on: 5th October, 2015

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

Ireland has a reputation for being a friendly country. In fact, the country’s friendliness is as iconic as Guinness, and the cliffs of Moher.  It has become a marketing cliché along with spectacular landscapes, pub music session, and wild weather. But for once, the marketing is 100 per cent true. The Wild Atlantic Way really is full of friendly natives who are only delighted to have a chat, impart local knowledge, share a joke, or give you directions if you get lost.

Friendliness is generally defined as an open, warm affability; a knack for congeniality and sociability. It is worthy of comment in Ireland (particularly rural Ireland), because so many places in the world aren’t really friendly.  One of the first things you’ll hear people say when they visit is how friendly everyone is. Tourists are blown away by how engaging and helpful people are.

It struck me recently, as I heard yet another visitor’s story of how friendly people are in West Cork, that what we call friendliness is actually common kindness. It is kind to start a conversation with someone who is sitting alone. It is kind to help someone who is lost, or find a garage for someone whose car has broken down. And it got me thinking about how lucky I am to live in a place where kindness is so ubiquitous that it masquerades as a charming sociability.

When I first moved out to the countryside I was intrigued by all the elderly men that seemed to hang around in farm kitchens, especially on Sundays. I thought that they must be elderly relatives. I discovered that some of them were, indeed a great-grandfather, or an uncle; but there were also some who were just neighbours who lived alone and had come over for a hot dinner. I’ve seen families foster children, when they all ready had a half a dozen of their own, and people get together to help a single mother move.

There is such an abundance of kindness that when  images of refugees fleeing to Europe started taking over our media, grass root organisations sprung up to collect supplies all over the country, vans were secured to go to Calais, coffee mornings and table quizzes were held to raise funds, and over 12,000 people ‘pledged a bed’  in their homes. Whatever you may think about the refugee crisis, you can’t deny that all these thousands of people who have mobilised are driven by kindness.

Closer to home, the plight of homelessness has also moved people. A free food stall has been set up (and shut down!) on Grafton Street. Cork Penny Dinners serve over 1000 meals a week (compared to 150 a week, two years ago). People can donate food and money, but so many people want to help that there is a waiting list for volunteers. In West Cork a group has recently been formed to protest the housing crisis and help those in need. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes the world’s problems can seem insurmountable. Media reports are scary and confusing. One way to lift the sense of doom and gloom is to give rein to our common kindness. When we extend a helping hand, or a friendly wave, the world becomes a better place. It doesn’t need to be much: taking the time for a chat, checking on an elderly neighbour, giving a student a lift, or welcoming a family that has moved to the area all make a small, but important, difference. Shakespeare wrote of mercy: “It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” The same goes for kindness. If we can continue to let our common kindness point the way, we’ll all be blest.

Latest News Articles:

West Cork girls among first to earn Irish Girl Guides’ new engineering badge
What is GDPR and who does it affect?
Kinsale historic map project launched
Dunmanway launches year-long celebration of Sam Maguire
Sam Maguire School Tour launched
Fundraising drive to get Kinsale students to World Robotics Championships to Kentucky
Answer the Call to save lives on March 23
Clonakilty students return from trip of a lifetime to rural Malawi
Clonakilty Fairtrade Fortnight celebrates 15 years
€44 million to improve Cork roads

Join us on Facebook

... See MoreSee Less

13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
... See MoreSee Less

12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
... See MoreSee Less

9th April, 2018  ·  

Jump to:

Top