‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’men gang aft agley’. The proposed   plans of our Association bear witness to the truth of Robert Burns’ belief that unseen forces can wreck the best laid plans.   At the end of our last formal Annual Dinner, over two years ago,  we ended the evening with the customary wish ‘Go mbeirimid beo ag an am seo aris’, promising to  meet again one year later.   

We could not have  anticipated how the Beast from the East, in the form of an insidious virus, COVID-22, would wreak havoc with our lives and arrangements.  Our members, having cocooned and endured lockdowns in an effort both to limit the spread of the virus and avoid contracting it, hosted a lunch on April 9th in The Galway Bay Hotel.  The Hotel, for its part,  complied  with all official recommendations regarding seating and spacing at functions, allaying any anxieties about such meetings  being hotbeds of infection.

This lunch was a first for us and proved to be a most enjoyable occasion.  Monica Heneghan, our Association Chairperson, welcomed all in attendance.  We were very pleased to welcome members from the Sligo and the Dublin Associations.   Canon Michael McLoughlin officiated at Mass.  (He stated that the former Archbishop of Tuam, Most Reverend  Michael Neary and the current Archbishop, Most Reverend  Francis Duffy  were unable to attend).  At the start of Mass, he referred to the role  and store of memory among the members of the Association, now over 50 years In existence.  Andy Dunleavy, an Association  Golden Jubilarian, referred to some earlier members and events.  Canon Michael referred to an original aim  and vision of the Association to provide assistance and support to each other and to further good causes. Specific reference was made to the sourcing and delivery of  much needed dialysis equipment to Merlin  Park Hospital some years ago, a fine example of the contributions made by the Association to various causes    Prayers were offered for absent friends and for some people who are ill. 

Our meal was first class.   The menu choices were excellent.   People were very glad to meet up and exchange news and views. It became apparent to some  present how isolated they had become in efforts to remain safe and how much they enjoyed meeting people in a safe environment.  Before we went our separate ways later in the evening in glorious Spring sunshine, committee members received suggestions that we should host an Annual Lunch from now on, based on the success of this inaugural one. It has a lot to recommend it and will be discussed at Committee level in due course. 

Personally, I hope this lunch will become a regular feature of the social calendar of the Association.  However, ‘is maith an scéalaí an aimsir’ – time will tell.

Maureen Langan Egan