Thursday, April 1, 2021

Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon 


Dead Serious About The Irish Language And Live Coffins

The fact that you are reading this probably means that you are Irish, have Irish ancestry, or have a deep interest in the Emerald Isle. Perhaps you are fluent in our first national language or you are like me and have the Cupla Focal. On the other hand, you may want to learn Gaeilge. One way or the other Abair Arís É, By Kathleen Geraghty, is for you. Abair Arís É aims to help children and adults learn Irish in a step-by-step way. The book is accompanied by a CD and is a very user-friendly introduction to the Irish language.

Kathleen Geraghty lives and works in the Erris region of Co. Mayo. She is originally from Develane, a small village near Eachléim, located in the Mayo Gaeltacht, where Irish is spoken every day.

One of Kathleen Geraghty's paintings from her (hopefully) post-coved PowerPoint presentation in Irish explaining historical events.

She was born and raised with the Irish language, and from a very young age developed a great love of it. Throughout her working life, she worked on Summer camps which were all carried out through the medium of Irish. She also taught Irish classes to adults throughout the Winter months and gave one-to-one grinds for Leaving Cert pupils in preparation for their oral Irish exam. On completion of level 6 Early Childcare Course a couple of years ago She told me, “A few years ago whilst doing the adult Irish classes I decided to produce the book and CD as I found it would help people learn our lovely native tongue at their own pace and hopefully in a relaxed manner as they could listen to the lovely background music which I wanted to be relaxing for the learner. The book to date I have been told is very easy to follow and a great help for both adults and children. During Covid 19 I have started to write poetry also in Irish as I find it comes easier to me and I really enjoy it.”

Abair Arís É is available from, Kathleen Geraghty, Ballina Road, Belmullet, Co. Mayo.

Price (including Postage); €15.

* * * * *

In September 2020 (it seems a long time ago with lockdowns etc) I did a piece on home burials. Speaking of which; I was contacted by a Munster resident who is applying to their local a n home burials uthority, for permission to be buried in their garden, put me in touch with a Dutch firm which has created a biodegradable "living coffin" made of a fungus instead of wood that it says can convert a decomposing human body into key nutrients for plants. Loop company says its casket is made of mycelium, the underground root structure of mushrooms, and filled with a bed of moss to stimulate decomposition. "Mycelium is nature's biggest recycler," Bob Hendrikx, creator of the living coffin says. "It's continuously looking for food and transforming it into plant nutrition. “ It's used in Chernobyl to clean up the soil there from the nuclear disaster, Hendrikx said. The coffin is grown like a plant within the space of a week at the company's lab at the Delft University of Technology by mixing mycelium with wood chips in the mould of a coffin. Mycelium also devours toxins and turns them into nutrients. And the same thing happens in burial places.

After the mycelium has grown through the wood chips, the coffin is dried and has enough strength to carry a weight of up to 200 kilograms. I had a long phone conversation with Bob Hendrikx, inventor, architect and bio designer who strives to restore the parasitic relationship between humanity and its environment by exploring a living world. He believes in a world in which we work together with nature. A world in which our everyday objects become alive. Imagine living homes, self-healing T-shirts and bioluminescent streetlights. Bob has been chosen as human of the year 2020 by VICE Media. His ambition is to empower and inspire people towards a living future by turning science-fiction into reality. He is no stranger to Ireland. He even likes our weather. Perhaps it makes him feel at home! And he loves the Ring of Kerry. Space doesn’t allow me to even touch on his many achievements in his chosen field but you can find more on

The availability of the Living Coffin should prompt local authorities to be more accommodating with permission for home burials.

* * * * *

There were only 33 Women’s Sheds in Ireland in January 2020 when Minister for Rural Affairs, Michael Ring, allocated €500,000 for Mens’ and Women’s Sheds.

The Minister said,” I’ve no doubt that the emergence of Women’s Sheds can only be a good thing for community life in Ireland.” A Women’s Shed is of course an asset to any community and Blessington is no exception. Carmel Cashin, founder of Blessington Women’s Shed told me, The Blessington women’s shed was launched on March 8th as part of Blessington and District Forums International Wwomen’s Day celebrations. The Women’s Shed is the first in Wicklow and currently has 502 online members. We work very closely with the Sallins Women's Shed in Kildare which I founded last year.

Blessington Women's Shed was set up for women of all ages to reconnect with themselves and the wider community. Above all we want the shed to be a safe place where women can come together and take part in various projects. We hope to offer Women’s Wellness programs, up-cycling skills, upholstery, making blankets for our homeless, arts and crafts, flower arranging, crochet, and whatever the women decide they would like. This is a new project which gives women a sense of empowerment through peer education and friendship. We hope to improve mental health and wellbeing through social interaction. We will have to begin this journey virtually until such time as we can come together. We are currently seeking a community premises. We cannot believe how popular the shed is becoming and proves a real need for the Women in the area.”

Carmel says that the support they have received has been overwhelming and she has a special word of thanks to Andra Coogan and Susan Rossiter for all their help in getting it up and running.

The Blessington diaspora can get in touch with:

See you in May.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

No comments:

Post a Comment