Click on audio file above to hear Andrée Murphy read this week's column.
AS this Coronavirus takes hold and the weather warms up it feels like a terrible thing that this will be an Easter like no other.
But hold on. Actually?
In some senses it will be a bit like most Easters were growing up.
That is unless you’re a republican who loves their commemorations.
This year the Falls Road will be totally different. No green, white and orange bunting. That lovely wolfhound will walk somewhere else. Uniforms will have to hang in father’s room for a little while. Milltown won’t be jostling with stewards getting one shade of green out of the cemetery while another shade make their procession towards the gates.
There will be a sense of loss in local areas as the smaller, more intimate commemorations are cancelled. Old comrades, who the rest of the year worry about hip replacements and heart stints, won’t have their annual get together where they become 20-somethings once again slagging each other with jail stories and escapades. Commemorations in recent years have become more precious with fewer faces as each year passes.
Families who lost their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters will not receive the annual recognition of their community or that moment of assurance that they are not forgotten, despite the passing of years.
For those who get their kicks from politics and love a commemoration and usually attend lots of them, this weekend will feel a bit empty. For the many more who connect into their history and head to the city which fought an empire to visit Glasnevin or Kilmainham, or maybe only occasionally ever did but now can’t because it is closed, Coronavirus will feel like it robbed them of something. But history will not go away, of that we can be certain, and there will be other times to remember in concert
A SPECIAL TIME: The centenary Easter commemoration on the Falls Road in 206
But then again, not much is all that altered. The off-licences are open on Holy Thursday for the queues who think they will parch when the pubs are closed on Good Friday. Not much change this year so. There won’t be Mass in the chapels but those tech-averse conservatives have surely got their act together so will be able to catch plenty of Mass as everyone from the Pope to the local parish priest brings Mass to the masses, and the Catholic Church experiences its own form of resurrection away from their bricks and mortar of churches on to the waves of broadband.
And the internet is the ultimate ecumenical as Protestant churches and congregations across the city are engaged in exactly the same exercise.
My only question is whether I will be able to get a spring turkey, to which I am very partial as Easter dinner is easier cooked than Christmas as there was no late night plotting and putting our surprises or early wakenings or tantrums. And because it is so much more relaxed it tastes so much nicer. But if I don’t get one, what of it? I suppose it will just be even more relaxed this year. There will certainly be less chocolate as fewer trips to shops has meant far fewer bags of mini eggs or giant eggs being purchased.
And there will be a bit more home baking. Or even more in my case. So, it is definitely not all that bad.