n a spectacularly sunny Sunday like today, it’s hard to remember just how gloomy those Covid lockdowns could get.
Every single day felt like a wet Tuesday, forever, with more rain and misery on the way.
It was a long night’s journey into day, and – gulp! – it just might be over. Certainly feels that way down at a merrily busy Greystones this afternoon, with ne’er a frown, a mask or even a dry robe (too dang hot!) in sight.
It’s the sort of day where you seem to know everyone you meet, and as we head to Burnaby Park with broadcaster, journalist and hamster whisperer Jillian Goodsil, we bump into quite a few friends along the way. Including the mighty Pierce, who’s intrigued to see the camera, cocked and loaded.
“Are you taking a picture of me…”
“Sure thing. Just going to do this interview about a fine new collection of Wicklow stories,” we reply, “and then we’ll get some cool shots of you at the park’s 2001: A Space Odyssey slab.”
Pierce is happy, giving us his trademark thumbs up. And Jillian Godsil is pretty darn happy too, The Upside Of Lockdown hitting bookshelves this week, after a long and unwinding two years. Pulled together with her longtime producer, the mighty Marlena Murphy, this collection of near-diary entries from 48 individuals all across the county deals not only with the lives we led during lockdown but how we felt as our world stepped back towards the old normal.
From Purple House’s Conor O’Leary and Belmont Demesne’s Celia Brabazon to International Numerologist Grainne Tyndall and Irish Horse Welfare Trust’s Sharon Power, all Wicklow life is here. And pretty much all of them had their Road To Domestos moment.
“There were stories here that had me in tears,” says Jillian, who first encountered many of those featured on her podcast, Wicklow Good News. “That first lockdown was emotionally very hard on people, but that’s when the human spirit really comes into play.
“And that’s what we found, again and again. That incredible human spirit…”
As well as her “completely and utterly incredible” friend and co-conspirator Marlena, Jillian is at pains to thank those who made The Upside Of Lockdown a reality. So, take a bow Michael O’Reilly, who edited the book, and Sinead McGuinness, who designed the cover. And then there’s the sponsors – Wicklow County Council’s Deirdre Burns and Michael Nicholson, the Waterford wonder Seán Kelly and Delgany’s coffee king Ferg Brown.
Available for just €9.99 at Greystones’ Rise At The Cove, Bray’s Purple House or the Tinahely Farm Shop, or online right here, Jillian gives us the lowdown on any downside to The Upside Of Lockdown…
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