As we move away from the Women and Agriculture conference, we continue to evaluate and remember what speakers advised and The Irish Country Living team are appraising it too.

I stayed in the Lyrath Hotel the night of the conference. To be honest, I wouldn’t have had the energy to drive home. I was in my bed by 9.30pm and slept until 8.30am the following morning.

What a sleep. At breakfast, I noticed that quite a number of the conference attendees had done the same. I intended to have a quick breakfast, instead it took two hours. I had several great chats with groups of women that were happy to evaluate the day.

Then I struck for Dublin to see my friend Ann who was coming to the end of her radiotherapy treatment as an outpatient in St Vincent’s hospital. It was easier to continue my journey once I was gone instead of starting out again. We had our lunch and tea in the Merrion Inn which is just opposite the hospital. The gastropub has an extensive menu. The food, quality and service were all top class. We had a great chat.

The Women and Agriculture conference is the definer of the start of winter for me. The weather has certainly obliged in confirming the fact. The rain continued while children readied for Halloween.

Invariably, Mam or Dad would have to lower the water level. There would be water everywhere. The bold child or parent would push heads into the water and all hell would break loose.

Childhood memories

There was no such thing as trick or treating when I was a child. We had a few games and Tim, and I continued those with our gang. We had a big bath (the baby bath) of water into which a few coins would be thrown and we’d fish for the coins with our hands behind our backs.

Invariably, Mam or Dad would have to lower the water level. There would be water everywhere. The bold child or parent would push heads into the water and all hell would break loose. The game would have to change to the apple on a string hanging in the doorway. Again, the hands were behind our backs as we tried to get a bite out of the apple. Then it was onto the flour mountain with the grape on top of it. This was a great game when there were cousins around. Each child would take a turn of cutting a slice from the mountain and moving the flour away until a little flour remained with the grape on top.

The suspense was great. The person to topple the grape got their face pushed into the flour. I have great memories from my own childhood and our children’s fun. They were cheap and cheerful times. Trick or treating was just starting when my children were growing up and I’d take them to the aunties or near neighbours. We always knew who was coming to visit. Tim would make sure to look for a trick rather than give a treat.

Now, Halloween has become a huge commercial event with houses decorated like Christmas. Not only is there trick or treating; but it is necessary to have a costume as well.

We are so easily sucked in. No parent wants their child to be left out and that spreads to Grannies too.


A few weeks ago, Ricky and I were in a big store. We happened upon Halloween costumes, €10.99 each. I didn’t hesitate. We perused them all. Ricky wasn’t into the scary kind. He wanted to be Batman.

I remembered my own boys going through that phase. Colm got a Batman suit for Christmas. Philip got a Robin suit and Diarmuid a Spiderman one. When Ricky and I came home, Philip was in the kitchen, he remembered getting the Robin suit and was very disappointed that he didn’t get a Batman suit too. I guess Santa wasn’t as smart as Granny is now. After all, who wants to be the sidekick?

Ricky’s childminder Lynda took him trick or treating. Lynda’s son Enzo is 10. The two boys are great pals and Enzo is so nice to Ricky. They were gone for about an hour. The rain poured down and Lynda kept the two boys dry with her umbrella.

On returning, they poured the loot into a big bowl. They had already halved the take in the car. I couldn’t believe the trouble people go to preparing little packages for the callers.

Of course, you can buy the special bags too. We’ve all been sucked in.