Kellie now a national sporting treasure as vaccine programme progress much welcome

Hello to all the Advertiser readers.

I would truly like to know how many of the regular readers of this column were looking at the TV coming up to 6am last Sunday morning! In case any of you are interested, I was up at 5.45am. During the night I didn’t sleep because I kept thinking ‘Oh I’ll miss the fight, I’ll miss the fight.’ I finally fell asleep at 4am and woke up at 5.30 and got straight up, came out to my living room, turned on the TV and boiled the kettle, made a big mug of tea, and sat down to watch Kellie Harrington in action against Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira.

Kellie lost the first round and I said ‘Uh oh, this isn’t good,’ because I had heard some boxing expert say that so much will depend on the first round. Anyway, she went into Round 2 and 3, which she won handsomely to give her the overall win. What joy! But what I really was so touched by was her natural way and ordinary talk. When she was standing on the podium and the Irish flag went up the highest of the three flags and they played Amhrán na bhFiann, above her mask Kellie’s eyes filled with tears. And do you know readers, my eyes filled with tears too and I thought ‘What a wonderful day for Kellie Harrington, for Dublin and for Ireland.’ Well done Kellie, you outmanoeuvred another world champion.

The boxers never seem to actually hit one another because they don’t show any sign of injury, but Kellie danced around that ring so adroitly, so skilfully, that I really felt that the judges would be all in her favour, and so they were. I went back to bed and had a couple of hours’ sleep before I got up again. I’m so glad that I made the effort and got up, because the next Games will be in Paris in 2024 and a moment like last Sunday at 6am might never come again. So I was so glad to fully enjoy it and be part of it.

I understand Kellie was due to come home on Tuesday this week, but all the talk was that they couldn’t have a big homecoming because of Covid; in fact, they said none of the public would be allowed into Dublin Airport. But it was confirmed that when we are in a better health situation, Kellie Harrington will be offered the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

I’m sorry the TV coverage of the Olympics has come to an end. As I said earlier, I thought I would be bored, but I wasn’t a bit. It was just so engrossing and so wonderful to have the ups and downs of it all so regularly reported.

It would be interesting to note how many of the readers have enjoyed indoor dining since it was allowed? ‘Indoor dining’ is such a grand title, isn’t it? Anyway, on the recent bank holiday Monday, I went out for a meal with Aengus, Lisa and the family to Glasson Lakehouse. Many of you will know it from when Tom and Breda Reid ran a very good hotel and golf club; they later sold it on to a Michael McKillen. Going out on Monday was my first time to see it in all its newfound glory.

The hotel and golf course has had a huge, and costly I would say, makeover, both outside and inside. As the day was uncertain weather-wise, Aengus had booked the indoor grill room called Bonnie’s, which runs throughout the day and is a completely new feature of the hotel. The adults had their Covid passports and the younger children of the family who were with us didn’t need it.

Anyway down we sat, and I had completely forgotten how wonderful the experience is of having your menu in one hand and your glass of wine in the other hand and somebody to ask you what you would like to order. Such simple pleasures, but it is so long since I had engaged in anything like that.

Yes of course I go out regularly on a Sunday to Aengus and Lisa, but I had not been out in a restaurant for almost a year and a half. We had a lovely afternoon and I came home with such a sense of enjoyment and also of course with happy memories.

The Glasson Lakehouse now has, among all of its new features, an outdoor heated swimming pool, presided over by a lifeguard. It also is dog-friendly and we saw many people going down with their bathrobes on and their dogs on leads. So certainly there are great changes abounding around Glasson.

It’s a great pity the British and Irish Lions team just failed to make it in last Saturday’s match against South Africa. They had quite a good lead, then it was an even score, and in the last few minutes South Africa made the breakthrough.

As you know, I don’t have Sky Sports, so I was relying on the radio which gave a very scattered account of it because they were in the middle of the Limerick versus Waterford hurling match. However, Feargal in Dublin rang me from time to time giving me the update on the Lions match.

For the next few weekends, we will have serious matches in the GAA games and they will be duly on TV on Saturday and Sunday. So that will be something to look forward to.

The vaccination take-up is truly wonderful, as is the news that the portal will be open to take applications from the 12-15 age group. If that works out satisfactorily, it will mean that many second-level students will be able to go into class with their vaccine got, and hopefully the worry about the pandemic eased. Teachers, in the main, will also have had their vaccine, so that should lead to a better climate all round in the classrooms.

As I am compiling this it is lashing rain outside with heavy thunder, and weather reports of more to follow. It is so easy to forget the ten days of golden weather which we had recently. I hope it is not fully gone and that we will shortly have a few good weather outbreaks again in August.

The pandemic is certainly not gone away, if one goes by the numbers. So I’ll end my column again with my usual warning: wear your masks, keep your distance, and avoid big crowds.

That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.

In the meantime, stay safe.

Slán go fóill.

Mary O’Rourke


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