The chances are this piece on the blackest Monday of my life to date will not defeat all the challenges and strains and worries we all know too much about already. With more to come by the hour and minute. 

My house is trembling now under the impact of the stormy gales along the really Wild Atlantic Way in East Clare. The only reliable link as the power cuts continue is the battery radio beside me on the Killaloe table. 

Sadly all the news crackling from it is bad news created by coronavirus impacts nationally and internationally.  Much of the local news on Clare FM deals with the cancellation of the St. Patrick’s Day parades about everywhere from Cork to Dublin to the celebrated North Clare parade in Fanore up in the Burren near Doolin of the best folk music in the world. 

Also canceled is Confirmation in Sixmilebridge down the road from me here, a feis in Kilrush, numerous local GAA clashes.  The doleful list goes on ad infinitum during a March when we have no government except a caretaker outfit readying itself for another imminent general election. 

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A Black Monday surely and, as the little radio tells me, much the same story on your coast of the clearly Disunited States across which even worse tornadoes than our green storms are ripping through the place even faster than the spread of this dreadful virus around the Emerald Isle.  If I could cheer myself up a little on your behalf I would do so, but that is proving extremely difficult just now. 

The cancellation of the big St. Patrick’s Day parades over here was not unexpected but only officially confirmed on Black Monday evening to the delight of many ordinary citizens who will now be able to stay out of reach of the bad weather that is ushering in the peak of the annual flu epidemic that would strain our creaking hospitals to the limits even without the impact of coronavirus-related cases. 

My little radio tells me that the commercial impacts of our current plight are infinitely complicated, especially for our crucial tourism and travel trades, many of which are claiming they will be lucky to survive the summer months ahead.  Our roads are being subjected to dangerous floods unlikely to reduce between now and the end of March. Most of the time, at any rate, they are eerily empty of the traffic flows we’ve all grown used to down recent decades. 

As always in our turbulent history we will survive all the challenges with some style, God willing, but in the meantime, as the storms continue, there will be tens of thousands of little battery radios like mine being avidly listened to as the TV screens blackout without warning.

I think I’m still getting through all the broadband difficulties on this very Black Monday by the angrily frothing Shannon dividing the heritage towns of Killaloe in Clare and the Ballina sister town in Tipperary.  Assuming this situation will continue for a while longer, can I grab the chance to wish all of you a peaceful and productive Lenten season wherever ye reside and read. 

Easter will eventually arrive and brighten up all our lives and again, as ever, we will resume punching well above our weight on the crowded world stage. Roll on the day that brings another spiritual kind of Rising. 

Would it be a brilliant idea, incidentally, in this enforced season of cancellations and postponements across the scales of life and living, to seriously consider a permanent postponement of St. Patrick’s Day parades away from the month of March, with all its weather challenges, to some summer date. Then all the bands and their followers could parade brightly and flamboyantly under a gentler clime without risking their health 

The benefits appear to be beyond reasonable doubt or argument on this Black Monday.  Time will tell as always.

The storm outside is getting worse by the second. My little radio warns me crackingly there could be a power outage at any minute now so, I’m gone.  Hope this gets through. 

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