The 17th of March this year was a very cold day. It was overcast and dreary. A bitterly cold wind blew. Ireland were playing England in rugby at the same time most parades were taking place, which makes it all the more extraordinary that people turned out at all to watch and cheer on the parades around the country.
The Blarney parade was smaller than previous years, and the crowd was definitely smaller too but they made up for it in sheer enthusiasm and good cheer. I have to salute those of the parade who walked the route dressed in uniforms or costumes. I could not have done it!
The death of Ann Lovett, a 15 year old Irish school girl in 1984 should be remembered today, International Women's Day.
She died following the birth of her son in front of a grotto on a cold January afternoon.
It was here, on the bitterly-cold, wet afternoon of Tuesday, 31 January, 1984, that Ann Lovett, a warm, clever and artistically-gifted 15-year-old girl, left Cnoc Mhuire (The Hill of Mary) Secondary School. She walked the length of Granard, past her Main Street home, to the grotto of the Blessed Virgin to give birth to her son. He died at birth. Around 4pm, schoolchildren found her schoolbag and heard her crying by the grotto. Ann was haemorrhaging heavily and suffering from exposure. They raised the alarm and a local farmer came to their aid. He ran to the nearby house of the parish priest, who said “It’s a doctor you need”. “I need you too, Father,” he replied. “The baby is dead and the little girl might be dying too.” Ann was carried to the priest’s house. A doctor was called and he drove Ann to her home. There, an ambulance arrived, far too late. Ann died in Mullingar Hospital a short time later.
15. Just 15 years old. Ireland has changed for the better but women are still second class citizens.
More fun in the snow today of course. Storm Emma wasn't quite as strong as we were all led to believe (voluntary curfew from 4pm yesterday to noon today for example), but it still dumped more snow on us that I've ever seen in Ireland.
All that snow made it easy to build another snowman or two, and provided plenty of ammo for a snowball fight later in the day. Snowballs to the side of the head can hurt …
One of our cats, Hoppy, disappeared for several hours today making us very worried because of the cold temperatures and drifting snow. We went out searching for her several times, talked to neighbours and called for her throughout the day. She suddenly reappeared tonight looking for petting and attention and purring loudly. Her coat was barely wet and wasn't cold so she had found somewhere warm and dry to hide away in. Should have known she'd land on her feet!
Looks like rain tomorrow. The two snowmen in the back garden won't like that!
The second day of snow and Storm Emma will make landfall around 9pm tonight apparently. Schools were closed, hardly anyone driving but kids were out playing in the snow. I'm glad we're watching Peanuts the Movie tonight!
The local Mill Pond was frozen over, temperatures didn't rise above 0C all day but it was nice to see blue skies.
There's one thing you have to do when it snows and that's building a snowman. My son got a bucket and added castles all around it to protect him from the maddening hoards of invaders that befall every snowman!
Fingers crossed Storm Emma isn't as bad as we all feared!
And then there were the memes ..
VIRAL STORM NEWS IN IRELAND:
2010: The man who slipped on the ice.
2015: ‘You wouldn’t be long getting frostbit!’
2016: ‘Don’t make unnecessary journeys!’
2017: Weatherman’s umbrella blows away.
The snow has arrived! The #BeastFromTheEast is upon us! In Blarney snow fell this morning for about 40 minutes and left the ground looking lovely and white when you're inside. It was awful if you had to go out in it though!
The snow fall didn't last long. Getting back up the hill into my estate was fun, involving high revs in first gear. Thankfully some of my neighbours had put gravel down on the road which helped. The relief as I felt the tyres catch on the rough surface was wonderful.
School is out at 11am though, so the kids get snow and bright pleasant, if cold, weather.
Tomorrow is Storm Emma.
Edit: Victor Barry posted a great photo of Cobh on Twitter.
"The National Emergency Coordination Committee has asked everybody in Munster and Leinster to be indoors by 4pm tomorrow and to stay there until midday on Friday.Cork Safety Alerts on Facebook
All schools in Munster will be closed Thursday and Friday.
Aaron Woods has great photos of Cobh as well.
Of course people have panicked and shop shelves are empty. Bread is in great demand. Send bread!
Photos of Crosshaven in Co. Cork from Facebook.
I used to work in Liam Ruiséal’s bookstore more than twenty five years ago. I still remember sorting through books upstairs while Everything I Do I Do It For You played every day at 1pm as it sat at the top of the charts in Ireland for nine long weeks. I was so sick of that song.
The late summer, back to school, rush in the nineties was a crazy time to work in a school bookshop. I think I only worked there 2 or 3 years, brought in during the late months of the summer holidays, and worked those months in the store room around the corner. It's the shop across the road from the side entrance of AIB, an auctioneers now.
There were constant deliveries, constant orders being made up, piles of books brought up to the shop on a trolley. I haven't really thought much about it since but I wonder what became of the people who worked there in the early nineties? William Geoghegan pictured here looks very familiar and it appears Bríd was still running the place in 2016!
It's sad to see it close but the last time I bought a school book in there was the mid to late nineties. Unfortunately I never thought of it as somewhere to buy fiction.
One of the country’s oldest independent bookshops, Liam Ruiséal’s in Cork city, is to close later this year after over a century in business. Bríd Hughes, a granddaughter of shop founder, Liam Ruiseál, confirmed this afternoon that the shop will close “within a few months”.
The Cosy Cafe is a small cafe in Kinsale with seating outside where, even on a cold day like this, dog obsessed customers can come for a bite to eat and their dogs can have a meal too.
Storm Brian made landfall at Galway this morning. I wouldn’t like to be walking along Salthill now.
The south and west coasts are getting battered though.
A status orange wind warning for the coasts of Mayo, Galway, Clare, Kerry, Cork, Waterford and Wexford is in place from 10pm tonight for a period of 24 hours.