Nine weeks ago I had one knee replaced. Now I’m counting down …. and nine more sleeps to having second one. Officially they’re called TKRs …. total knee replacement.

I heard so many horror stories. But I’ve only positive ones. I’m putting it down to an excellent surgeon and great nursing care.

And doing what I was told …. exercises, resting, icing, etc probably helped too.

And all the good wishes and support I received both as an in-patient and an out-patient.

Eulogy to a Knee by Sherwin Kaufman and Jim Smith

I think that I shall never see
A joint as complex as my knee
For years it helped me run and play
At many sports til I was gray

But then arthritis took its toll
I found it painful just to stroll
Before the day was halfway spent
My knee complained without relent

I had a surgeon look to see
What it would take to be pain-free
The x-ray told him of my trial
My knee had walked its final mile

So nervously, my knee a wreck
Into a hospital I checked
The surgeon said his saw and knife
Would give me back my pain-free life

It really gave my heart a twinge
To think my loyal little hinge
Would soon be severed from its home
So that my limp could be long gone

So fare thee well old faithful knee
For you I wrote this eulogy
No more painful bone on bone
My knee now glides on cobalt chrome!


Shay’s anniversary is synonymous with the arrival of snowdrops. Twenty four years ago I drove home from Walkinstown to Naas with the boys: it was snowing, the roads were slippy, we were lost in this new world of aloneness and grief. We stopped into St Corbans to leave our small pot of snowdrops, a little sign of life and hope among the mound of flowers, sadly beginning to droop after nights of frost.

I believe the snowdrop is a native if southern Europe and monks are credited with first bringing the fragile yet resilient plant from Rome to Ireland and planting them around the monasteries. They not only grew easily here but thrived.

This year I might take a visit to Altamont Gardens (Carlow) or Ardgillan Castle (Dublin), or Shankill Castle (Kilkenny) or Burton House (Kildare) where they grow profusely.

Heralded as the first flowers of the year, snowdrops are a welcome reminder that spring is on it’s way. Wordsworth’s poem To A Snowdrop captures the essence of what the snowdrop means to me:

Lone flower, hemmed in with snows, and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day
Storms sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art though welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste snowdrop, venturous harbinger of spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years.

Eimear Noone, a great Irish conductor

“It’s an honour to be there, to help normalise something that I do every day. Little girls everywhere will see this and say, ‘I think I’ll do that.’ That’s what we want.”

I love getting the chance to celebrate women’s achievements on this site and as I listened to Eimear Noone’s interview with Ray Darcy on radio yesterday, I just knew I’d have to write about her.

Galway-born Eimear Noone will be the first female ever to take charge of the orchestra at the Academy Awards when she conducts excerpts from the five nominated scores. 
Her casual reference to her friendship with music was lovely as she described her feelings of nerves ahead of the big event. “I’d be dead inside if I didn’t have any concerns. Luckily for me, I have friends in the orchestra and I have friends on the page in front of me, ” she said.”The background changes, but the little black dots on the page are always home for me. No matter what country I’m in or what concert hall, it doesn’t matter – the score is where my mind and my heart are.”

Eimear’s career flourished in LA where she moved when “Ireland wouldn’t even give her a chance to fail”. While she has conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, l’Orchestre symphonique de Bretagne, the Sydney Symphony, the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, several other national orchestras and was the first woman to conduct at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, she is best known for her award-winning work on video game music.

When asked if she did the tap tap tap at the start of a performance ( to bring the orchestra to attention) she answered that the conductor should never do a solo! What humour! What humility!

Listen to her interview on the Ray Darcy podcast (24 Feb)

Watch her performances on You Tube. And certainly watch her on Oscar night, Feb 10th when she conducts music from the films: Little Women, The Joker, 1917, Star Wars and Marriage Story ……our Irish winner regardless of results.

HAPPY 2020

20teens What a decade for the Dubs. And how great to have been a witness.

And now we move to a new year, a new decade, some new dreams!



What about the sentiments of this Tennyson poem, Ring out Wild Bells, as a resolve for a decade? (Tennyson who wrote Mam’s poem, Crossing the Bar!)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
  Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.


Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh go léir