29th June 2020-Phase 3 of “Lockdown”

I was so excited, I would be able to visit my son, daughter-in-law and 3 little
grandchildren all under 8. They live in Claremorris, and I had last seen them on
the 2nd March, had chatted on Face time, but it’s not the same.


Up early, made a batch of queen cakes with butter icing, as all kids love sweet
homemade treats. Beating the sugar and butter and listening to the radio as
they played requests for families who would also be on the road this morning
visiting families for the first time since lockdown. Birthdays had been missed by
me as two of the children had theirs in March and April.


With a great feeling of excitement I left the house at 9am, bought petrol, and
my coffee, and hit the high road to the West. Yes, the roads were busy, passed
through Portarlington, then on to Tullamore, I knew soon I would be on the M6
a lovely feeling, soon I would see the sign for Athlone and I always take the
turn of for Roscommon/ Sligo . Now, I could have stayed on the motorway and
travelled via Tuam and take the N17, but no, I love to leave the monotony of
the Motorway and take a break in Roscommon. After my break, driving along,
lost in thought, as well as seeing the children, I was going to see all the
renovations they had carried out during lockdown, the new fence, the new
painting of the house outside, the new play equipment swings etc. for the
children.


Suddenly I saw the sign for the next town “Castlerea” and felt a shiver go
through me as I was brought back to 2 weeks ago and the 7am news
“Detective Garda shot dead in Castlerea last night” This was the early news
on Thursday 18th June. As that day moved on, we heard more details about this
man, we learned his name Colm Horkin, we saw a gentle face, and learned all
about him, his family, and the awful circumstances of his death. As I drove
through Castlerea, and saw the road sign for Charlestown, all I could think
about the horrible scenes of raw pain that I had witnessed while watching his
funeral Mass the following Sunday morning, his father, his brother Brendan’s
speech and the thousands who had travelled to Charlestown to be there for
them.


I thought of the parents of these lads who joined the force to serve the
country, this must have been an awful shock to all of them. These men had
been there to help protect us during this awful time in our lives. They had been
part of our “front line workers”. There would be no great excitement in
Castlerea or Charlestown on the 29th June 2020.

As I left the town, I was glad to be near my destination. I had a wonderful trip
catching up with taller children, and saw all the changes since I’d last been
there last. I drove home via Tuam.

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