Big thank you to Readers for all the nice compliments regarding the lovely photos in our online editions over the past few months. A big part of this is due to the wonderful St. Mary's Camera Soiree, who are itching to get back to their weekly meetings. Hopefully, like everything else, it won't be too long.
Nice to be able to visit our churches, and attend Mass again, though it must be said that it is a very tough task for those organising events in the parishes. Things are improving at a good rate, so please co-operate with the volunteers helping out.
At long last, we have our new Government, one like no other. It will be no easy task getting the country back on its feet again, but good luck to them all.
Congratulations to South Dublin C.C's new Mayor, Cllr. Ed O'Brien, who is, we think, the 4th Lucanian to hold this office.
Best Wishes to Frances Casserly on her retirement. Frances was the Lollipop Woman at St. Thomas' and St. Anne's Schools in Esker for many many years. We heard that the boys and girls were very sad to see her go, and some of them even turned up in Hillcrest last Friday to say their farewells!
Great to see sport making a comeback! The new U16 jerseys from Lucan Sarsfields, got their first post Covid outing at training during the week, much to the delight of all.
Bad News! It seems that the theft of Catalytic Converters has reared its ugly head in Lucan again, when several cars were damaged in a car park in broad daylight. Keep an eye out for any suspicious looking characters jacking up cars - it might not be to change a wheel!
Rain! It seems that it's been raining since the ban on garden hoses was announced a few weeks ago.
Here's a thought:
Some people feel the rain,
Others just get wet.
I wonder, at what point does it stop being good for the garden!
Italia '90 - we were out of it at this stage 30 years ago, but it felt like we had won it as the celebrations went on, and on!
Remember the souvenirs!
Robert Roberts Tea Bags were a big hit, as were Premier Dairies Milk Bottle!
Happy 8th Birthday
to Tadhg Fitzgerald
in Melbourne, who celebrates his big day on 4th July.
Hope you have a great day!
Love from all your friends in Lucan!
Land Down Under
On the 19th January 2020, a cold and frosty morning, I travelled to Dublin Airport to make my annual trip to Australia, to see my three grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law. After a very long journey I was met at the airport with hugs and kisses by the family, it was worth all the effort. I had six weeks of joy and freedom in glorious sunshine, although not as hot as previous years, the locals said it was due to the Bush fires which were still evident when it rained as everywhere was awash with grit and dust. Some days the temperature reached 38degrees, and too hot to venture outside, otherwise the days were filled with going to footie, tennis, basketball, swimming, ballet, playgrounds and walks, all carefree and thoroughly enjoyable.
In March everything changed, there was talk of a Virus, what was this, how bad was it and how would we be affected it? The boys stopped going to school, granddaughter not at childcare, my son and daughter-in-law working from home, suddenly we all took this Virus seriously, by now it had an official name Covid-19.
The travel agent in Dublin had to be contacted and thankfully my ticket was valid for another 6 months, but I wasn't unduly concerned at this stage, as I had planned to travel home the week before Easter. On the 29th March the clocks in Ireland changed to Summer time and on the 5th April in Australia the clocks changed to winter time, and that was the date I had planned to go home as I was leaving the last of the Australian
Summer behind me and heading home to the familiar Irish weather. But to my shock I got word that my flight was cancelled by then it was becoming increasingly clear to everyone just how serious this Virus was.
I had an email from my travel agent to advise me to register with the Irish Embassy in Australia, unnerving to say the least. I duly did register with them, and they could get me home if it was an emergency, thankfully that wasn’t the case. I then had to contact the Authorities regarding extending my Visa, as it was due to expire on the 20th April.
At this stage Australia closed their borders, any travellers entering Australia had to self-isolate for 14 days in a hotel, and like Ireland lockdown began. So for 10 weeks I was unable to go to the shops, restaurants or see friends. I could go for a short walk but had to wear a mask.
I became quite concerned at exactly how long I would have to stay in Australia, as another flight was booked for the end of May, so I made the most of my time with my grandchildren, we baked, made pancakes, gathered the last of the summer roses from the garden and pressed them into books, painted rainbows to be displayed in the windows during the extra time there and I have to say it was most enjoyable.
My granddaughter told me I was to stay there as her home was my home now, which was lovely to hear but always at the back of my mind was - when can I go home, the advice from the medical people in Australia was it wasn't safe for me to travel home at that stage even if I could have got a flight home, it was an unreal feeling, I then had to have the flu and pneumonia vaccine so I knew I was there for the long haul.
My flight for the end of May was yet again cancelled, so trying not to panic I really had no idea as to when I could go home, it was now Winter in Australia, had got very cold, and dark at 5.30 daily, which certainly didn't improve how I felt, and I didn't have any winter clothes, as I came prepared for the summer weather. I now realised I had to get a hot water bottle, to the delight of my grandsons, they had never had one or had no idea of what it was or its purpose, I never thought I would use such an item in Australia.
Every day I checked the airline and my family in Ireland were in contact with the travel agent, about the middle of May I was told that there were flights to Heathrow, I was reluctant to travel there as my preference was for a direct flight to Dublin and I was hoping that would happen, but each day it dawned on me that was not going to happen.
After contacting the travel agent yet again in Dublin I was advised that was the only way I was going to get home. So my flight was booked for the 22nd May, going through Heathrow. I finally felt relieved there was a plan, but sadness at leaving my family, on the night of my departure it was heart-breaking to hear my granddaughter asking me to stay, as her home was my home, my grandsons are at the age to understand, she ran out to the garage looking for my car to take me home and she was happy to see it wasn't there so in her mind I had to stay.
Finally arriving at Melbourne Airport, very eerie, all shops closed, very few people around, totally different departure to other years, where the whole family would see me off, just my son there this time, very hard saying goodbye as not knowing when I will see them again.
At the departure gates, what I could only describe as this person, didn't know if it was a man or a women dressed like an astronaut with mask, visor and PPC came out and took every passengers temperature. We boarded and everyone had masks and gloves on and it was the quietness that struck me as normally there would be a buzz.
From Melbourne to Abu Dhabi the flight took 13 hours, arrived there again to another lockdown Airport, again very eerie, it is normally teeming with people, not so this time, more medical forms to be filled in, after about 2 hours there, back on board and 7 hours later arrived in Heathrow.
When I was booking my flight from Heathrow to Dublin I decided to pay extra as I would have access to the lounge there and wouldn't have to hang around the airport, but like the other two airports the lounges were closed, so for over 3 hours I had to stand and wait to check in, no seats to sit on or nowhere to get a cup of tea, eventually I checked in and went through to Departures I was finally able to sit down, such a relief to finally get on the plane and just a 50 minute journey to Dublin. If I hadn't been so bone weary I would have kissed the ground upon arrival.
Another eerie airport, but I was delighted to be met by our local Lucan taxi man Mick, great to see a friendly face, thank you Mick.
Unfortunately I was unable to go home as I had to self-isolate, which I did in a Hotel. Eventually after 4 and a half months I finally arrived in Lucan.
During my time in Australia I had wonderful support both there and here in Ireland, friends in both places were wonderful, a very special thank you to all my friends, the texts, phone calls and funnies I received really helped and to wake in the mornings to see all that was deeply appreciated. My Newsletter colleagues sent the Newsletter each week which I looked forward to and kept me up to date on what was happening, also it was lovely to be part of the WhatsApp group with St. Mary's Photography Group, so I cannot thank you all enough for your support during what was a very stressful time.
I look forward in time to catching up with everyone.