In March 2020 one of the smallest particles known to man virtually brought life as we know it to a standstill. Most were limited to travelling no more than 2km. Some of us could not leave the precincts of our homes. An eerie silence pervaded the land. Traffic on our roads was dramatically reduced. In a strange way, the lockdown had its positives. In the midst of the silence, the singing of our wild birds seemed louder and more melodic. We had time to reflect on the beautiful land of south Wicklow. The land that we are blessed to call home.
Above all we had time to reflect on the wonderful community that we are blessed to share
our space with. I was blessed to spend all of my working live in ‘the dear little town of
Carnew,’ or ‘Curnoo’ as the locals call it. Older residents will remember the old saying that, if
someone drank the water of the Mulroony in Carnew’s Mill Lane they would never leave the
town. I don’t ever remember imbibing this sacred water – yet I have never left the town.
Over the years I have made wonderful friends and mingled with some of life’s great
characters. It was also in the border town that I met my life partner. Without the support
and work of Eleanor this book – The Liars’ Bench- of lockdown history and lore would have
never reached fruition.
Carnew, like the neighbouring villages of Tinahely and Shillelagh, is steeped in history,
heritage and has a tapestry of great homespun lore.
For 99 days during the first lockdown in 2020 we sought to bring our Facebook friends a
brand of ‘living history’ that would cross the generational gap. To say it was success would
be the euphemism of the day. Sadly, many of those who, in March 2020, embarked on our
lockdown journey with us are no longer here. Some who commented and contributed are
now in a happy place where they are regaling, and being regaled by, some of the great
characters who walked our land in a bygone age.
For many with south Wicklow roots, but now scattered throughout the globe, our daily
posts brought a short diversion in a troubled world. We spoke of buildings and family
businesses, we spoke of characters as diverse as Lady Juliet Fitzwilliam and Will Gathercole.
We endeavoured to keep alive the memory of many of those who, in their own way, had
shaped the character of our little community. Any community is shaped by the characters
who live, love and die amongst their peers. A person has not passed from our midst until we
cease to mention their names in our conversations. Hopefully our lockdown posts helped,
around many a hearth and many a dinner table, to perpetuate the memory of many of
those who have shaped who we are as a community.
Inside the pages of The Liars’ Bench you will find all of these local history posts and
comments from our online community of followers.
We hope you enjoy the read. Visit www.coollattincanadianconnection.com to buy a copy