Our man Frank on previously unseen restrictions, a Connemara invasion of Creggs, turning over the Japanese, designated driver rotas for rural pubs, and the ‘Full Irish’ followed by a morning on the Green…
When one considers the fact that Covid-19 has been with us for such a long time, you’d be forgiven for thinking that by now I would’ve come across all the changes it has brought about. Remarkably however, you would be wrong, as over the weekend, I experienced regulations in two different situations that I had escaped up until now.
The first was on Saturday evening, when I arrived at the old Regional Hospital in Galway to visit my wife Carol, who is presently a patient there. The polite, but firm, security guard told me to wait outside as visiting times are strictly 6 to 8 pm. I was a little early (by about ten minutes or so), but there was no way I was getting in before six.
By the time the magic hour came, there must have been fifty or sixty people queueing outside in what was a pretty raw evening. Anyway, the queue started to move eventually, but when my turn came, I was asked for my proof of vaccination, which I didn’t actually have on me.
Fortunately, earlier that day I had gotten a text message from my doctor arranging a time and date for my booster vaccine and the security guard allowed me in – although he warned me not to forget it again. I suppose it was fairly stupid of me to not have it on me, but I have just now taken it out of safe keeping, so I won’t be caught without it again.
On then to Sunday morning – and I’m nearly ashamed to say it – but it was the first time I had gone to Mass since the arrival of the pandemic. The truth is that I was not sure what the new procedures were, and rather than making an idiot of myself, I thought it was easier not to go at all! However, I finally plucked up the courage to go on Sunday, and the truth was that it was very well organised, with social distancing properly observed, and every protocol in place.
One of the only big differences I could see was that there was no collection, although envelopes could either be put in a box in the church, or handed in to Dowd’s of Glinsk, or Roarke’s in Creggs. Additionally, after receiving Holy Communion, people didn’t go back to their seats, but headed straight out the door.
The other thing I noticed was that almost nobody coughed during the entire Mass, whereas once upon a time you’d have everyone spluttering and choking. I presume we’re all nearly afraid to cough now, for fear people would think we have Covid. Either that or all the vaccines, flu included, are doing their jobs.
Fr. Donal, our Parish Priest, gave his usual interesting homily, in which he spoke about the importance of doing little acts of kindness – like making an odd phone call to family and neighbours, sending a text message to check in on people, or even giving someone a kindly smile – and how much such simple acts are appreciated. The funny thing is that for us, nothing could have hit home more forcefully.
In the short time since Carol has been hospitalised, we have been overwhelmed by the Get Well cards, Mass Cards, messages of goodwill, and the amount of people who have told us they are remembering her in their thoughts and prayers. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of money and material things, but Fr. Donal is right. Simple acts of kindness are very important, and as we have benefitted from so many of them recently, I just want to say thanks to everyone – it really is greatly appreciated.
Traffic delays as All Blacks arrive for Cawley Cup match
Last week, I told you that the only time we have traffic jams in Creggs was on the Fair Day of the Harvest Festival and when the Connemara All Blacks come to to town. While it might have been a slight exaggeration, the All Blacks sure brought a large, loud, and enthusiastic crowd of supporters with them when they came to Creggs on Sunday last.
The game was the semi-final of the Cawley Cup, and while it is not the most important competition in Connacht Junior Rugby, both teams wanted to get to the final, and went at it hammer and tongs. I’m sure there will be a full report elsewhere in the paper, but in an enthralling battle of many ups and downs, Creggs won by the narrowest of margins on a score line of 28-27.
The All Blacks have been the dominant team in Connacht for a few seasons now, and even though it was the Cawley Cup, it was great for our lads to hold out for the win. Even our older and more experienced players had rarely, if ever, played on a team that had beaten them down through the years.
After the game, everyone headed across to Joe Dolan’s, and it was a bit like old times. There was great food and drink, good craic and good-natured banter between some of the die-hard supporters of both sides. For a couple of hours, we could try to forget that the country is ravaged, once again, by massive Covid numbers. It was my first visit to any pub for a good while, and it was great to see so many former players having a pint and celebrating the long overdue win – although we were warned by the departing Connemara crew that there will be bigger days ahead!
As good as anything I’ve seen from Boys in Green
Staying with rugby, I must admit that on Saturday, despite my reservations over having twelve Leinster players starting for Ireland, the performance in beating Japan by sixty points to five was as good as anything I’ve ever seen from any Irish team. Throw in the fact that Johnny Sexton, on the occasion of getting his 100th cap, managed to score a try as well as kicking several conversions and penalties, and you could really sense the huge optimism after the big win.
Just like Creggs however, bigger tests are coming. This weekend’s game against the other All Blacks, New Zealand, will give a truer picture of our rugby wellbeing. All in all, the signs are good, but no one will be getting carried away on the strength of one big win over the Japanese. Roll on Saturday, and we’ll see what we are made of!
Designated driver rota for rural pubs?
Once again, we are always being told that country pubs are dying on their feet, and I suppose there is no disputing the facts. On Saturday night however, Dowd’s was well full, and the people were out enjoying themselves.
I have always believed that country pubs, with a lot of effort, can survive, and one of the ways to do so is provide transport so the punters can get to and from the pub safely and without drinking and driving. Down in the south of Ireland, I recently saw where a group of twenty to thirty locals came together and drew up a roster so that between them, they could provide transport to their local village pub.
As most people are only out over the weekend, I imagine it could and should be done in all our little towns. Properly worked, a driver would only be on every few weeks, and it just might mean an upsurge of fortunes for our rural communities. I’m not sure if the publicans are involved in the southern scheme, but I would think they should be. While I am also aware that every new initiative has some problems, my view is if it works somewhere else, why not in Creggs? Maybe we could organise our own group.
Finally for this week…
We were up earlyish Sunday morning to see the Scotland-Australia game. Scotland really are a top-class rugby team, and their match with South Africa next weekend has me bristling with excitement. They are well capable of turning over the Springboks.
The full Irish was belatedly devoured, and then it was time to put on the coat and woolly hat and head to the Green in Creggs, where our own rugby team was doing battle with our old foes, Monivea. In a game full of scintillating rugby, we won on a 43-19 scoreline.
What a game, what a setting – and, for all of us old Creggs folk, everything that has been happening in our village is just so positive. I have all my words used up for this week, but next week, I will tell you all about what’s coming down the line over the next couple of weeks. Bet you can’t wait!
‘Till next week, Bye for now!