New Year New Day

Posted on: 15th January, 2014

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

I awoke this morning to an unaccustomed brightness. The sun was warming my back and filling the world with light. Everything is golden. The land is gently steaming, like a fragrant plate of dim sum. My ears are still ringing from the howling winds, and the unfamiliar calm feels a bit odd. It’s not raining but I’m sure the humidity is well over 80 per cent. Everything is wet. Every twig and leaf sparkles with drops. Every dip in the ground has become a paddling pool. The vegetable patch looks like a rice paddy. Ducks are happily floating around in fields where cows usually graze. Water has swollen every trickle, brook and river to bursting and beyond, creating little waterfalls and impromptu streams everywhere. There is a sense of reprieve in the air. Even the animals seem to feel it. The dogs and cats are rolling around on the drive as if it were high summer. It feels like Nature is heaving a huge sigh of relief.

After the battering we’ve had since Christmas, it’s good to hear the birds singing again. One has to wonder how they manage to sit out the storms? I expect that they just hunker down and hang on for dear life like the rest of us. I’ve rarely heard storms as fierce as what we’ve just been through. On St Stephen’s Day it sounded as if a battery of canon were positioned across the valley. Loud booming shook the house. The rain was so hard, it felt like the canon were shooting nails at the windows. The door handle has been tied to the Aga since the holidays and it is a delight to be able to leave the kitchen door open again. In fairness we didn’t have it too bad. We only lost one small tree and never lost power. Floods were small and short lived.

The change in weather, along with the month that it’s in, carries a feeling of new beginnings. I can see the tiny green shoots of the daffodils just peeking above the soaked ground. We still have a chunk of winter to weather, but soon it will be time to begin again. I think that’s why we are so obsessed with making resolutions at this time of year. There is a sense of possibility, without the pressing urgency of summer. You can sense the Spring ahead and yet feel that you still have the time to consider your options. It is a time when we can contemplate what we might do in the coming year from the comfort of our sofa, content in the knowledge that there’s no rush to actually do anything. Most of us will have mentioned a New Year’s resolution in passing. Some of you may have developed the idea and started taking steps to implement these fine new objectives. But unless you’re the type of person who keeps a record of your resolutions, you’ll have probably forgotten 12 months from now. I know I’d have, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m one of those people who have a record.

I’ve been writing a column for many years and the January column almost always has some mention of New Year’s resolutions. The last decade mainly reads like a litany of failure. I have resolved to go walking, learn the piano and stop smoking…As I started to write this column I realised that I don’t really have my 2014 wish list set yet. So, I checked out my 2013 New Year’s column to see what I had written about this time last year.  I couldn’t remember any of it except for the fact that I had made some mention of my New Year’s resolutions. As I read what I had written a year ago, I was gobsmacked. What devilry was this?  In January 2013, I clearly stated three New Year’s resolutions and here I was in January 2014 having pretty much accomplished them. I had resolved to join the gym again, take up archery and eat porridge for breakfast. I go to the gym regularly. Archery has become my new passion. I don’t eat porridge every morning, but I did twice this week and very nice it was too, thank you very much. I would be feeling rather smug if I wasn’t feeling so bewildered. What happened? Did I get older and wiser? Was my list any more achievable than other years? Is there some lesson I can learn about setting goals? I honestly have no idea. Not to worry — I still have a couple of weeks to think about it.

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11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
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11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
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26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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7th September, 2017  ·  

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