Dad’s Diary

“I really love you dad.” Such words, when so sincerely spoken, by such a small girl, would melt the hardest heart. Her follow-on phrase, however, led me to better understand the proximate cause of this profound outburst of affection, “I also really love your chocolate,” she said, in a pointed reference to the piece of chocolate I’d…

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Dad’s Diary

In early summer, the Irish countryside takes on the qualities of Eden – except without the serpents. Lush green foliage bursts forth, unrestrained, all around us. As midsummer’s warmth seeps into the soil, ferns and tall grasses sway, while wildflowers glimmer in the hedgerows. The songs of busy birds, the buzzing of bees, and the…

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Dad’s Diary

Some friends kindly left us look after their cottage on an island off west Cork during the past month. Each Friday, we packed the kids into the car straight after school and rushed westward to catch the ferry. As soon as we stepped ashore on the island, we entered into another world, where time goes…

Dad’s Diary

A friend sent on an old picture from our village when I was a boy. When a picture from your childhood looks like something from another world, you know you’re getting older. Although my childhood took place not too long ago, in the 1980s, I do remember Ireland as being a very different country back then.…

Dad’s Diary

Like many parents, thanks to the lockdown, I’ve been moonlighting as a hairdresser. With the actual hairdressers being closed these last months, we’ve had no choice but to take matters into our own hands. My wife even ordered a proper hairdressers’ scissors and combs online, to give us an undeserved air of professionalism. With these…

Dad’s Diary

The kids are now in the final term of a very strange school year. My youngest, who is in senior infants, has had most of her school career disrupted by the pandemic. The older kids can learn remotely more easily, and could even stay in touch with their classmates online. The sense of isolation was…

Dad’s Diary

My two-year-old has now spent most of her life under coronavirus restrictions. Of course, she doesn’t understand the bigger picture, but she does know that, at times, the Government stops the older children from going to school and her from going to her beloved childminder. She knows that sometimes we are not allowed go to…

Dad’s Diary

After the drear of an Irish winter, the first few sunny spring days seem almost miraculous. As the gloom wore on, month after month, it seemed that never again would we rest easy in the sunshine. The Irish climate makes moments of luxuriating comfortably in nature rare, and therefore precious. Yet all of a sudden,…

Dad’s Diary

Children have an amazing ability to escape into the present moment, far more easily than we adults do. Since my mother died, the children have spent plenty of time lost in sorrow and reminiscence, and enough time crying. Yet in just a few minutes, they can switch from being immersed in heartfelt sadness over a…

Dad’s Diary

The world is a poorer place. My beautiful mother Anne has died. She had been in hospital for an operation and sadly contracted coronavirus in there. For the first week of the illness, we held out hope, since she remained cheerful and vibrant as ever. Yet we knew that a grim moment of truth was…