Sarah Dunn, whose second novel Secrets to Happiness: A Novel (Little, Brown),is due out this month, rang the other day to give me her good news and to say that blogs can be conversational and casual. (Because I think I'm still a bit afraid of the blog concept, I really appreciated her input.) So here goes.
l February, St. Brigid's Day, is the first day of spring in Ireland, and now a month later, it's really here! Daffodils are bobbing in the sunshine in all manner of nooks and crannies. Ash Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent this week, and the Anam Cara ducks are well into laying their white eggs for the kids from the two National Schools in Eyeries Parish. They keep at it for the forty days of Lent, and then just before the Easter school holiday, I hard boil the eggs and spend an afternoon showing the kids how to dye Easter eggs, something they don't do much because the hen eggs here are brown and don't take colour very well. We have a great time, and the kids produce some absolutely fabulous eggs a la Faberge! The fun lasts well beyond the day as we wave to each other with our tie-dyed fingers until all the colours wear off. Our hens are beginning to lay as well, a sure sign of spring; in fact, the bantam hen hatched out four chicks about a month ago. She was very early, and because of the cold, two of them didn't make it, but the survivors are extremely chirpy and growing their teenage feathers.
The Friday Night in Eyeries fundraising series for February featured readings by Leanne O'Sullivan, the much-lauded Beara poet, who launched her second collection, Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (Bloodaxe Books), and well-known Dublin poet, Maurice Harmon, who launched his third book, The Mischievous Boy and Other Poems (Salmon Publishing). Thanks to the generosity of those who share their talents and those who attend these evenings, the Beara Chernobyl Children's Project can now sponsor four more children to spend six weeks this summer in Beara!