Dad’s Diary

There’s nothing more terrifying than a clock. For we mortals, the mere passage of time is a memento mori like no other. Yet, in the end, we may hope that the lifting of the veil of this world reveals something vastly more beautiful. The heartache which time causes in the parents of small children is…

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Dad’s Diary

September still seems like a time of new beginnings to me. I’m sure it’s a legacy of my school and college days, when early September marked a return to work, and an advancement to the project of a new academic year. The mornings are fresh and I feel keen to leave behind the lethargy and…

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Dad’s Diary

Even in August, the growing darkness of autumn silently approaches. Even after gloriously long days spent at the beach, the ever-earlier dusk surprises us. An ambush by an usually wintry wind presages the equinoctial gales to come. For the children, this has been the longest summer. As soon as the schools were closed last March,…

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Dad’s Diary

There’s something wonderfully retro about the summer holidays of 2020. Irish people are holidaying in Ireland again – just like they did in the old days, before foreign holidays became de rigeur. The byways of West Cork and Kerry are again filled with Irish registration plates. Some come all the way from places as exotic…

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Dad’s Diary

I stared out the window as the sublime blue-grey of a summer’s dawn broke. The dawn chorus slowly erupted, to distract somewhat from the interminable chorus of ‘banana, banana’ from an annoying character that featured in the cartoon which was playing on my phone. In these past weeks, our two-year-old has apparently given up sleeping almost…

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Dad’s Diary

The littlest person in our house turned two this week. Just a year ago, she could barely walk or talk. Now, she can not only walk, but she can dance, jump and run. She can not only talk, but she can sing, shout and make jokes. Just two years ago, we beheld for the first…

Dad’s Diary

We sat huddled by the fire as the rain lashed relentlessly against the windows. My wife was treating one child for mild hypothermia and another for sunburn. We were, of course, on a traditional Irish summer holiday. The most accurate predictor of rainfall in June is the scheduling of the school holidays. It is an…

Dad’s Diary

My eldest daughter skipped downstairs to breakfast, threw her arms in the air in triumph, and announced delightedly: “Today we are going to see nana and granddad!” It had been almost three months since the kids had met with their beloved grandparents. This pandemic-induced hiatus was all the more frustrating, knowing that they were just…

Dad’s Diary

Family homes across Ireland have been transformed into makeshift schools, thanks to the coronavirus epidemic. Our own home school has three pupils on the roll, along with an enthusiastic toddler who joins in from time to time. Our daily routine involves having all pupils up and breakfasted by 8 in the morning. This allows them…

Dad’s Diary

The newly arrived swallows swoop across the evening sky; happy heralds of summer. They have journeyed from Africa to our eaves, where they will nest for the summer. Our little valley has become rewilded in recent years, with acres of new woods springing up nearby us. Buzzards and falcons now regularly soar overhead. Trout frequent…