Kamala Harris

An article from NY Times by Matt Stevens Nov 7 2020

Kamala Harris, the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first woman of Indian heritage to be elected vice president, said Saturday that “a new day for America” had arrived and thanked Americans for making their voices heard in a brief speech on Saturday night, hours after she and Joseph R. Biden Jr. had been declared the winners of the 2020 presidential election.

Kamala Harris

In her historic remarks, Ms. Harris recalled her mother, an immigrant who came to California as a teenager.

“She maybe didn’t imagine quite this moment,” Ms. Harris said of her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. “But she believed so deeply in America where a moment like this is possible, and so I am thinking about her and about the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women — who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment — women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all.”

Ms. Harris acknowledged “all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century.

Rosa sat, so Ruby could walk, so Kamala could run.

“Tonight, she said, “I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been. And I stand on their shoulders.”

Vice presidents to date

Friend on Facebook this morning sourced inspiration for art work of Kamala ‘running’. It is a Bria Goeller design in collaboration with Good Trubble clothing Company.

East Clare for 5 days – October 2020

CIF – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Management Information - ConstructionCovid-19 restricted travel this year. My usual annual getaway to sun, sea and foreign exploration had to be scrapped. For much of the year, travel was actually designated by Government decree-often limited to a set number of kilometers from home. For a newly mobile person, this was not a huge constraint.

Naturally, I was disappoint to have to cancel a planned week in Lanzarote (of recuperation!) but as it meant staying well, exploring my town on foot was (almost) as good a foreign venture – so much to see for the first time and a freedom to be relished. The weather in March, April and May was glorious and conducive to neighbourly gatherings albeit across a garden fence to share coffee and sometimes something stronger!!! So isolation was not a problem.

‘Released from captivity’ in June and July, I savoured the joy of travelling to Cork to spend time with my beautiful grandson – it was tremendous. I loved the days spent ‘fishing’ and building dams in the Lee, hurling in the park, paddling in the garden pool, arty activities, make-believe stories with toys (learning paw patrol character names) – all the activities a granny dreams of!

It was short lived however and Kildare soon went into lockdown again in August. This time it was not so easy. So by the time September arrived, cabin fever was beginning to set in and a break to anywhere was needed. A travel planning sister organized a trip to the sunny south east which had to be cancelled at short notice as Covid numbers in Waterford rose.



However, undaunted she explored more private and easier regulated destination and at the beginning of October we headed off to the East Clare Golf Village outside Bodyke.



DAY 1: South Clare was the destination today – Loop Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse is located at the furthest point west on the Clare coastline on the Wild Atlantic Way, with the rugged and wild Atlantic on one side of the peninsula and the more sheltered Shannon Estuary on the other. The weather was wild but that didn’t stop us walking around the point and taking photos.

We continued up the coast, visiting Kilkee, sneaking over the dunes to see Donald Trump’s Doonbeg Golf Club (as ostentatious and lacking in class as its owner) and stopping in Quilty for lunch before cutting across county to get home.




I spotted this mosaic work along the sea wall in Quilty.  



DAY 2: It was another wet and wild day for today’s visit to the Cliffs of Moher. But maybe this is exactly the weather when the cliffs should be viewed – a gale that would almost take you off your feet on the cliff walk and a surging sea below. And while there was only a glimpse to be had of the Aran Islands (no five county view today!) it was invigorating to experience what existence might be like on this western seaboard. The Visitors Centre is a unique structure, set into the hillside and offers an insight into the archeology, flora and fauna of the cliffs.


We travelled on through Doolin and Lisdoonvarna and talked about the memories we had of younger and hardier days spent here, pre camp sites and their facilities. The music and the craic sustained us.


DAY 3: The country went into Level 3 Lockdown today – no pubs or restaurants open unless for outside dining or take-away, and travel restricted to within your own county. This did not disrupt our travel itinerary for today, a lake drive around Lough Derg. The weather started off pleasant enough and allowed us to view the lake from a number of lookout points on the eastern shore. Stories of a brother’s trips to Drumineer prompted a stop there and allowed a leisurely walk on the pier and by the lake. The place is so well maintained, clean and with facilities open to the public it was a pleasure to be able to stroll around. The weather quickly changed and we hit back for home.

DAY 4: Although we knew Covid restrictions would limit the extent of the visit, we continued with our plan to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Our sat-nav got a bit confused with our choice of the “shortest route” and decided to extend the tour. However we arrived safely at our destination. Despite the restrictions, we had a lovely visit. There was only one guide on duty, dressed in medieval attire and he gave a wonderful historical description of the castle. He also whet our appetite for a visit to one of the medieval banquet nights with his stories of the merriment and song one can experience there. We had a great walk around the Folk Park which is a living reconstruction of the homes and environment of Ireland over a century ago. Rural farmhouses, a village street complete with school and shops and Bunratty House with its regency gardens are all recreated for the visitor.

Appeal to motorists to slow down on approach to Garda checkpoints |  Connaught Telegraph DAY 5: Homeward bound, refreshed after a lovely stay – accommodation, tourist sites and take-away meals were all excellent. Best of all, however, was the company – after so many months of lockdown the chat and banter was great.
Only one Garda Checkpoint on journey and as I was “going home” it posed no problem!

Excellent insults

Had to share this example of how insults are disimproving with the passage of time:

Benjamin Disraeli was heckled by member of Commons: Sir, you’ll either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease!”. To which Disraeli replied: ” That will depend on whether I embrace your politics or your mistress!”

Which brought me to Google other great insults:

Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.”

Albert Einstein: “Only two things are infinite– the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not so sure about the former.

Great to watch LIVE GAA again

I didnt realise how much I loved GAA until this pandemic hit. During March, April, May, June, July, I watched replays (favourites of course being last 5 All Irelands!). Replays are great when interspersed with LIVE games. On their own, month after month, even watching great games becomes tedious.


Having watched The Toughest Summer last night the benefits of playing this year’s inter-county football championship are such for players and spectators alike, that everyone involved should do what they have to to get it up and running.

Everyone acknowledges that it won’t be straightforward. The Covid pandemic means things are rarely simple these days and there will be hurdles to overcome.

So it was great when club championships started. Suddenly the dream of an All Ireland championship was possible.

I’d play in front of Dessie and his dog

But for spectators, there’s joy of even watching ”live” inter-county games on the TV.

For the players? Michael Darragh Macauley probably captures their mood: “Give me 200 people, it will be a novelty but if that has to be zero, just Dessie Farrell and his dog, that’s what it is.”

A Dub supporter in Aus

Resilience and Solidarity

It’ll be called GOLFGATE. Elected reps and people of supposed standing and judgement in our society golfed and partied disregarding all health precautions to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

Those of us who had endured the sacrifices of lockdown needed words of inspiration. And Dr. Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health provided them:

“I know that at times we can all feel powerless against COVID-19. But we are not.
“Each of us has a range of simple tools at our disposal – knowing the risks, washing our hands, not touching our faces, keeping physically distant, avoiding crowds, limiting visitors to our homes, and wearing a face covering.

Dr. Ronan Glynn

“But the most powerful tool of all remains our solidarity with one another – by encouraging each other to stick with the basic measures and by continuing to act and adapt together we can suppress the transmission of this virus once again.”

The passing of Jackie Charlton August 2020

I couldn’t believe I would be so saddened to hear of the passing of a football manager – But I was. Jack Charlton was such a part of our life in 32 for a decade.

He personified a golden era in Irish football-the Italia 90 campaign being one of pure joy for the O’Loughlin family as we sent our representatives to Italy for the 1990 World Cup. 

And we, at home, might as well have been there. We knew all the support songs. I even played one of them – We’re all part of Jackie’s Army – at the end of year mass in Milltown by special request of the PP. (I was the official organist there – God help us!). I was also the band conductor and on the afternoons of matches the band sat on the wall outside the school giving (strange but enthusiastic!) renditions of “Ole, Ole. Ole!” and “Jackie’s Army” with lots of flag waving and singing by non-band students.   

Ole. Ole. Ole

We had high expectations for USA World Cup 1994 and “knew” it was the heat of New York and the humidity of Florida that brought about our downfall. I still have the video of Jim’s appearance on the Nine o’clock News singing pre-match in Miami. 

Staying over in Granny’s

Magical memories.


Mrs. Lynch was one of our neighbours. We lived in ‘The Park’; she lived in ‘The Crescent’ – St Mary’s Crescent to be precise. She did the dinners (meals for the elderly) in the Centre (Walkinstown Social Service Centre) with Mam. Now the only times I meet her are at old neighbours’ funerals and she’s still hale and hearty and loves a chat and some news

No wonder we were so excited when she started to make regular appearances on TV. It’s as if, by association, we too have some fame.

Mrs Lynch of the Crescent

Letters from Lockdown is a series of short films, each featuring a letter from one person to another, a reflection on an aspect of the situation we all find ourselves in, whether it is separation from loved ones, concerns about mental health, the breakdown of the rituals we hold so dear…

Margaret Lynch was born 100 years ago in April 1920. While she was busy cocooning, her great grandson, Daniel, was born, 100 years and one day after she was. She has yet to get to hold him but has taken the opportunity to write him a letter, about her life, her feelings about lockdown, and about him, the newest arrival to her large clan. 

Growing up in Inchicore, she was born at a tumultuous time in Irish history, the War of Independence. Although she was too young to recall that,  she well remembers the Second World War and the effects it had on Ireland. She married just after World War 2 ended at the age of 25 to Michael and went on to have 6 children, the youngest of whom  is going to be an OAP on his next birthday! She has 19 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren. Now, at the age of 100 she is living through another troubling time in history, with the Covid 19 crisis of 2020. 

100 years and a day between birthdays

During this period of lockdown, Margaret has been taking cocooning seriously but this means she hasn’t been able to do the things she wants. The oldest volunteer in Ireland, Margaret has had to stop visiting her local day centre where she normally volunteers twice a week.  She can’t get out for her walks, go shopping or get her hair done. Her large family is her saviour at this time. 

A Link to a Covid Poem

I had never heard of Tomos Roberts before April 2020. Then I happened to hear his poem “The Great Realisation,” on YouTube and thought it was the most wonderful commentary on the pandemic I had heard. Little did I realize that millions of others thought the same or that, in a few short weeks, it had been translated into multiple languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian. Since the poem was released, Roberts has been flooded with requests, all urging Roberts to turn his virtual tale into a bound book that parents can read to their own children.

I transcribed it into My Covid Diary describing it as a simple rhyming bedtime story I hoped my grandchild would read to his children, a future commentary on our 2020 crisis. And I hope these little ones of the future will react as Roberts’ little brother, Cai, does on the YouTube presentation. “Tell me the one about the virus again”. “Why did it take a virus to bring people back together?” Cai asks toward the end. “Sometimes,” Roberts replies, “you have to get sick, my boy, before you get better.”

Although the poem deals with the heavy themes of corporate greed, familial alienation, the pandemic, it has a happy ending as a “great realisation” sparked by the scourge.

The stories I listened to as a child, and that later I read to my children were about kings and queens and witches. They told about a variety of miseries and misfortunes that befell children; however, they ended up ‘happy ever after’ and taught lessons of friendship and trust and bravery and resilience. So here is the modern day equivalent where we hear about corporate greed, familial alienation, the pandemic. And  why shouldn’t this pandemic bring good as well as disruption. Instead of going back to ‘normal’ why can’t go somewhere even better than before?

There have been some incredibly dark times in human history, followed by times of light and hope: wars followed by peace, pandemics followed wellness. We go through difficult and dark times but they don’t last forever. The human spirit is so resilient and we rise again. Listen to this amazing poem and be lulled by the soft sleepy music in the background to high hopes and pleasant dreams.

1969 Theft of Leaving Cert Papers

Leaving Certificate students may rightfully be feeling hard done. I’m sure they’re fatigued with the isolation, the new ways of distance teaching and learning and the exam timetable uncertainty. I feel so sorry for them, especially the more disadvantaged ones who without either home or school support might just give up now. Four months is a LONG WAY OFF.


With the news of the extension of restriction because of COVID-19 and the rescheduling of the LC to late July or August, I tried to remember my Leaving Cert. I was part of the cohort of Leaving Cert students in 1969, the last year exam events were taken into state control when an almost complete set of Leaving Certificate papers was stolen from De La Salle School, Churchtown, on June 12th, 1969. (Naturally, the principal at De La Salle said he was “absolutely certain” that none of the boys from his school had anything to do with it.)


Because of the theft and to guarantee the authenticity of exam results, I was one if those unfortunate students who had to take their English and Maths exams twice. Amazing that with no such thing as twittering at the time, the papers made their way into other students’ hands at a rapid pace. About 250 students purchased the papers for between £1 and £20 at monied schools all over Dublin before the matter came to the attention of authorities. Goldenbridge did not have a privileged school population and the first we heard was when Sr Anne Philomena announced that the English and Maths exams would be retaken and, to allow supplemental papers to be written for all examinations, there would also be a delay in the middle of the timetable. I remember the tone of “how lucky you are to get extra studying time!!!!”


And so when we all expected to be finished and starting summer jobs we were hauled back in to examination halls on Friday, June 27th, and Saturday, June 28th to sit 2 papers each day. I’m not sure how much sympathy was either given or expected. It was a time when you put your head down and ‘got on with it’. For those of us doing the University matriculation exams, there was a further delay as they had to be postponed because of the late completion of the exams.
In an era when very few asked WHY? we had little need for Nietzsche and the context of why. Maybe we were as well off!!!!


And we had very particular supports: teachers telling us (gleefully) that our results would be in line with our efforts, early morning mass on the day if each exam (having also attended each Lenten morning as a kinda deposit or guarantee of being recognised by the Lord), mothers’ prayers and daily 10 o’clock mass and as the first grandchild to hit this crossroads in life, a grandmother’s prayers and masses. Who needed Nietzsche?