September 26, 2021
Her eyes widened over her mask. “Oh my god, you’re here! We haven’t had more than two Americans visit the gardens this season. How did you do it?”
We had made a spontaneous visit to Brigit’s Garden near Galway and I was delighted to find my friend Jenny Beale, founder and director of the garden, was there working with volunteers.
In more that twenty years coming to Ireland I’ve never had a more challenging time organizing a trip. Many friends thought I was crazy. Well, that’s a given. But there were times I wondered at the sanity of it all. At the same time I was watching how Ireland was dealing with the pandemic and it became clear they were in much better shape and on a much better trajectory than the States. Over 90% here are vaccinated and since July Ireland has been opening up again. They plan to be completely open by the end of October. It’s safer here than in the US.
Yes, the Irish were not happy with the multiple lockdowns that restricted travel to 2km and later 5km and people over 70 from leaving their houses. And yes, there are anti-vaxxers here but as friend Anthony Murphy observed, “It’s a small minority and at least over here they carry signs and not guns.” It’s safer here than in the US.
I’m now settled in the cottage and, as Dennis noted, have shifted from herding pilgrims to herding subcontractors. Many projects have accumulated in the year since I’ve been here. And with three weeks remaining here I have time to write the stories that are calling to be shared.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org