January 2018

Saturday 6th January. A peerless cold day in Lisdoonvarna, the sun shining all day, the biting wind in the shade of the fir tree plantations and high hedgerows blowing from the North, enough to make the head ache.

I took the dog for a walk up through the village, as she refused to walk up the lane into open country. I have never seen Lisdoonvarna so full of people, all making their way to the Catholic church. It was as if half of West Clare had turned out. The main street in Lisdoonvarna had cars parked on both sides, and still more were coming. Most of the people seemed elderly, and dressed smartly.

What could it be? There was no service scheduled on a Saturday, according to the board outside the church. Was it some local community meeting? Or perhaps it was an election, and they were all coming to vote? Or Trump had launched all-out nuclear war and the Russians or Chinese had got dragged into the conflagration in defence of the Crimea or North Korea?

No, it was a funeral. This is how they do funerals in the rural West of Ireland. Wow.

Later, I noticed a small elf waving at me from the thicket at the top of the back garden.

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