I haven't been blogging a lot this year. It's been a roller-coaster year, full of change.
Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas and a 2017 full of joy, health and hope! A little piece below which I wrote about the Euro 16 Soccer championships.
Summer 2016 memories.
Sometimes, the sun shines and we get to escape our lives,
slide away from the grind – the chock a block M50,
the commuter trips on fogged up trains, clocking in and out. We get a chance to mentally check out from the day to day, the 24/7, the 365 rush, rush, rinse and repeat.
We pack vans and cars and smile like we did on school holiday summer mornings
and pretend in a good light that we are all twenty two again and life is full of
promise and fresh dawns and an anything is possible mood washes over us.
We say goodbye to the factories, the offices, the identikit houses on cul de sacs,
built in fields in towns many miles away from where we were born.
We flee from jobs that numb the brain, that eat away at us and we cope because we can hear our parents' voices in our heads,
“Do it to put food on the table”,
to get the kids the Communion dresses, the bouncy castles, the high heeled
debs shoes for girls, who in our minds are still making sandcastles with us
on grey green Irish summer days.
And this time we get lucky and Ireland make a tournament. We meet up and scrape the Euros together.
Hire vans and pack them up and find ourselves in a warm city, wearing green jerseys and eating food we wouldn't eat at home and admitting to no-one that we actually enjoy it.
And we enter that stadium. And the Irish soccer team run through the tunnel. And we roar until we are hoarse. For ninety minutes, we forget about the factories, the pinging of work emails trapped Aladdin- like in our phones. We banish the memories of the overdue bills and we become a tribe.
People think that the best part is when the ball is in the back of the net, the 'Oh my God', we cannot believe our own eyes, Ireland have scored and we are through to the next round.
It's not all for the glory - the cups, the medals, the crowd shouting in one voice and singing 'The Fields of Athenry', until no-one has a dry eye and everyone pretends it's a hay fever outbreak. The most important part is the moment before the roar.
That moment where an Irish foot connects to the ball. The sound of the leather. The ball cutting through the air. The swish as it hits the net. The silence. The hush before the crowd roars.
The second when the air is full of hope and everything difficult in life is forgotten about and filed away to think about some other day.
All of life's hopes are stored in an intake of breath, rare and priceless,
and found in the strangest places, even on a football pitch, in France, in the summer of