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.

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.

Shops that are gone but not forgotten

Last week Pricewatch in The Irish Times asked about the shops which have closed that people missed the most.

The response was reportedly “enormous” as people remembered book shops, supermarkets, corner-shop institutions, …. Reading the report I could not believe how many of them were my favourites and had featured very strongly in my life.


The hours I spent in Xtra-Vision with the lads choosing “our weekend movie” always age appropriate, costing £3 fbor 24 hours, risking a massive fine if late – gone forever.


Pat Quinn opened his first supermarket in Stillorgan in December 1966 and very shortly after 3 more stores were opened – leading to the above ad. Our Quinsworth was in the Crumlin Shopping Centre. As the nearest bank to my workplace was also there, at least once a month it provided for some retail therapy.


We also had Superquinn on the Walkinsyown Road, a bit more expensive than Quinsworth but with far better quality. Jim’s friend worked there – in the fruit and veg department I think. They had an amazing bakery and when I started to do my own household shopping – it was a great place to stock up for a party! Posh food!

Roches Stores

Roches Stores was the shop for buying Wedding Presents – as you could bring almost anything back and exchange it for what you wanted. In an era when you might get 5 toasters and 6 kettles as presents, that was a great service. No wedding lists in those days.


Woolworth’s on Grafton Street – an array of sweets inside the door that was second to none! On a school tour to Limerick, Woolworth’s was the shop of choice – all sorts of souvenirs, goodies and impractical gifts could be purchased there!


OMG – the memories of our Christmas visit to town to see the lights! Switzers elaborate Christmas windows full of fairytale winter/snow scenes.

Peats World of Electronics

When we first started to go “into town” alone, we usually hit for Henry Street. Parallel to Henry Street was Parnell Street and any sort of odd electrical device that might be needed “was only available” in Peats. Later it was the shop of choice for TVs, stereos, cameras.

Boyers & Co

Boyers was the Arnotts of the working classes. It was the “sensible/reasonable” shop of our parents and the shop I dreaded; it became a war between fashion and sense, style and bargain. It was the shop where you bought “a good coat”.

Clerys & Co

Although I cannot remember shopping in Clerys as a child, I remember the romantic stories my mother told of the ballroom at Clerys which hosted dances every night of the week with a full-time orchestra” and she could name the many couples who had met there. In my teens “under the clock at Clery’s” was almost an institutional part of Dublin culture, a meeting place for couples. I can still remember arriving there and waiting with hoards of others, hoping that “he” would arrive and “not stand you up”.

Guineys & Co

Guineys and Boyers were two of a kind as far as I was concerned, one at the top, the other at the end of Earl Street- bargain basement for parents when money was tight. It’s only when you have to do your own budgeting and refusing your own kids luxuries that you realise the importance of such shops.

Greene’s Bookshop

Greene’s book shop had to be my favourite book shop in Dublin. It was actually my yardstick for “good” bookshops and one that was almost impossible to better. Maybe I knew it had a special place in James Joyce’s heart because it was where Nora Barnacle worked, – but something made it old old school and wonderful.
There was the book-lined staircase, leading up to rooms crammed with old tomes. And the glass canopy and the tables of books left outside come rain or shine in summer and winter.
It started out as a book shop and lending library in 1843 and given its name by the then owner John Greene.

The Irish Yeast Company

My mother was a confectioner. She baked and decorated the most exquisite cakes for wedding, christenings, jubilees, Christmas. I can remember accompanying her to this shop for the many intricate decorations that were used to adorn the cakes. With a history stretching back to the 1750, this small building with a most memorable facade was one of the oldest shops in Dublin. It sold yeast – obviously – and all manner of cake-decorating paraphernalia and stepping through its doors was as close to time travel as anyone lucky enough to visit before the doors closed for the last time was likely to get.
I just have to write a bit of the history it was so special: The business first opened in 1894 in what had been the foyer of the George Hotel, which later became a bank and later still the Westin Hotel.
The Moreland family took over the business in the 1930s and John Moreland started work there when he left school at 16 in the early 1940s. He was still behind the counter, aged 91, in 2015. After he died, the shop closed and the building was eventually sold and is currently being redeveloped.

The Worm Moon

I missed the first supermoon of 2020 – busy having knee replacements! Amazing recovery allows me to consider celestial events again and report that the second supermoon of 2020 is set to light up the night sky and delight skygazers this evening (if the clouds clear).

It is dubbed the “worm moon” and will be visible from 5.30pm.

But how did it get its name?

Royal Observatory astronomer Emily Drabek-Maunder said: “The March full moon is known as the worm moon, named after earthworms that emerge towards the beginning of spring as the ground thaws.

This full moon will also be a supermoon, meaning it will appear about 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter in the sky as it reaches its closest point to Earth.

The moon will set in the west at sunrise on Tuesday morning around 7.13am.