In June 1956 there was a nasty polio epidemic in Cork and many people caught the disease and suffered some serious health issues. Many years later some of the polio sufferers were also diagnosed with Post-Polio symptoms of muscle degeneration.
When the polio outbreak happened in Cork a good friend of our family Dr Billy Kearney who was also a keen caravan fan, suggested to my dad that he should move us children out of the city and park us for the summer months in a field he had come upon, near a beach not far from the beautiful Derrynane area famous for its beautiful beaches and being the home place of The Liberator Daniel O Connell.
And so started a love affair with the simple pleasures of life and nature; fishing for shrimps in the rock pools, trying to catch a mackerel or a Pollack or a flat fish or indeed anything that was swimming close to the little pier and of course building sand castles and learning to swim and getting perished in the cold but clean waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
And so we were introduced to some other really important things in life like watching the gannets dive head first into the waters just off the shore as they fished for their daily food and going out in a rowing boat with local Paddy Roche fishing for wild salmon and lobsters and crabs.
Many years later when I had my own family we rented a house in the same area and for many years we spent the month of June on holiday where we also had the fun of introducing our four children to the same simple pleasures that I enjoyed as a child.
And now it is the time for our grandchildren to explore this wonderful world of nature. Just last week Nell our eldest grandchild aged 5 picked some wild flowers along the road and proudly presented them to her granny. On the walk she had also heard the sound of a wild pheasant in the field and watched it as it ran to the safety of some rushes. Another day as we walked up the road past our house she saw two hares in the field above and followed them with excitement with her little binoculars as they crossed the road and entered the field below us.
The following day we headed for Derrynane House and the coffee shop and on the way saw two horses looking over a gate watching the cars and people go by. In the grounds of the house where the parents can admire the wonderful flowers the children can explore the fairy cottages hidden in the grounds so carefully and imaginatively by Ginny Darragh.
And so what was a major problem in Cork so many years ago, created a reason for us to get out of the city and gave us as a family the opportunity of rediscovering the simple things of life which are of such importance and value to our little ones in today’s age of television and computer games.
Ted Dwyer Family Business