Dad’s Diary

The strangest things happen when you find yourself without Internet connection for weeks on end. That is the situation I recently found myself in thanks to the incompetence of my broadband supplier, and the fact that our old farmhouse in west Cork is down in a valley, and has two-foot thick stone walls which serve…

Dad’s Diary

The lorry groaned as the enormous skip landed with a metallic thud on my driveway. This was going to be spring-cleaning on an industrial scale. Five years ago, a sudden job offer precipitated a hasty move to Dublin from our old farmhouse in West Cork. We had far too much stuff to take with us,…

Dad’s Diary

Our minibus was packed to the gunwales with four children, furniture, bedding, tools, clothes and toys. Hundreds of miles of road and two sea crossings lay ahead of us. I felt like writing ‘Cork or bust’ on the side of the bus. With my wife on maternity leave, and with my having the opportunity to…

Dad’s Diary

The kids had ‘World War I day’ in school last week, to mark the centenary of the armistice of 1918. The teachers arrived in Edwardian costume, and the kids were dressed in old-fashioned clothes, or dressed as nurses or soldiers. Most of the boys came dressed as soldiers and, inevitably, some shooting games ensued. The…

Dad’s Diary

It was a proud moment this week, watching my eight-year-old son tog out as captain of his school football team. He looked smart in his kit and even had an easy authority, as he casually directed his teammates, as he walked up to take the kick off. It seemed only yesterday that I was kicking…

Dad’s Diary

In the deepest dusk, I found myself in a Hampshire woods, reading the names of Irish holy women from their graves. Many of these departed nuns were born in the 19th Century, and had lived through times of great upheaval, war and conflict. It moved me to see my compatriots buried in exile, many long…

Dad’s Diary

“Ten years.” I found myself contemplating these words in awe and disbelief last week. Time had pulled its usual trickery. The day before yesterday, I was walking down the aisle with my new wife – then there was something of a busy blur – and suddenly a decade had passed, as if instantaneously. Ten years…

Dad’s Diary

It was a deep summer’s dusk as the hills of West Cork unfolded before my weary eyes. I was driving home from England for a holiday with my three oldest children, while my wife took some quiet time with the new baby. The girls in the back slept. Seán, sitting in the front, was entranced…

Dad’s Diary

I would hesitate to plot a graph projecting the expansion of my belly. However, my wife, a doctor, has no such qualms. When, last Friday, she carefully plotted the dimensions of her late-pregnancy belly on a graph, they were slightly less than they should have been. This can mean the baby is not getting quite enough…

Dad’s Diary

The last days are the slowest. Nine months of pregnancy passes by with respectable speed, until the last few weeks, when the flow of time slows to a trickle. As soon as the 37-week mark is passed, and the baby is officially full term, labour could begin at any moment – and it would be…