Free-range children

Posted on: 9th March, 2015

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

One of the main reasons that I moved to West Cork from Brussels, over twenty years ago, was that my eldest was 12-years-old and I wanted her and her siblings to be able to go out unsupervised, as I had in my, largely suburban, childhood. I felt that the urban environment was too scary to let them loose in. I couldn’t imagine just letting her take off on her own for the afternoon, and I knew that she had to be able to do that. After all, what was I going to do? Keep my children locked up until they were 18 and then just push them out the door into a world that they had never encountered on their own?

I remember the first time I turned up our road to view the house that would become our home in West Cork. As I slowed, I saw a small boy pop out from a low bank. He must have been six years old at the most. I was surprised, and was wondering if he was lost, when an even smaller boy popped up tugging on a bit of baler twine, on the other end of which, was an over excited puppy. They waved as I went past, clearly not lost. They were just out playing at the stream. Coming from the city, it was an incredible sight: two small boys and a puppy, just wandering around. Over the years my daughters wandered around those hills and fields. I overcame my city fears and accepted not that they were safe, but that they were children whose need to climb trees and wade streams was greater than my need to never let them suffer as much as a scratch.

I was helped to let go of the obsessive need to know exactly where my girls were at all times (which is the hallmark of urban parenting) by my neighbours and friends. “Ah sure they’ll be grand,” was something I heard often when I first moved. One lovely old lady told me that when her nephew came to visit from America, she’d let him wander wherever he wanted as long as he was back in time for meals, and as long as he took the dog. “I tell him that if something happens to him, the dog will come home and fetch me, and show me where his body is,” she explained with a wry grin. “That dog keeps his mind focused on what he’s doing.”

I had my rules: never run with scissors, or with anything in your mouth, especially not balloons. Some were illogical: never take vitamins at night. Some may have been a bit overcautious: treat the water in flower vases as if it were teeming with Ebola. Some were purely local: always know if the tide is going out or in, check fields for cattle especially bulls.

I was terrified when they climbed things: cliffs, trees, jungle gyms; but I didn’t stop them. They knew that I was terrified and delighted in shouting at me down below. I would turn my back so as not to have to look, but applauded their bravery, even as I thought of how I’d have to drive an hour to Cork if they fell on their heads and broke something. I trusted them to not be any more stupid than I had been at their age, and I trusted myself to be able to comfort and mend them when they got hurt.

Seven was the appropriate age to get your first pen knife. At thirteen you were old enough to go to Cork with friends during the day. Fifteen was the age you got a tent for your birthday. The pen knife came with a lecture on having reached the age of reason, but still having to prove that you were indeed old enough to be trusted. The pen knife would be taken back if you sliced your thumb or threatened any sister with it, or left it open on the table. Much the same lecture accompanied the bus ticket to Cork, and the birthday tent.

The stream where I had seen the boys that first day became a favourite place to play. One day my youngest asked if she could go “down to the river on her own”? I replied that you had to be six years old to go down alone. She replied that she was seven. I concurred and let her go. But I told her to take the dog — just in case.

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Visiting restrictions in place at Bantry General Hospital due to Flu Presentations

Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses or vulnerable others are advised not to visit. Outpatient, Day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.

All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu virus.

People with flu like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at Bantry General Hospital.

Bantry hospital staff are asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
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8th January, 2018  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Cope Foundation's Happy Christmas from Cope Foundation. ... See MoreSee Less

What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to www.cope-foundation.ie/donate. We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

18th December, 2017  ·  

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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