We live down a long roadway and ours is the house and yard at the very end. Unless you purposely leave the yard, a number of days could go by without seeing anyone.

I like to go out and mix with people, as I come back recharged to get on with the work. But the past few weeks have been so different.

I only go out when I have to, such as to bring my dog to the vet (and well done to the vets working away while staying within guidelines), to do the grocery shop (which is carried out very quickly) or to go to the agri-store for supplies.


We were in the middle of lambing when all this began and that has kept me going. It has given routine to every day and brought sleep at night. The sight of new life has given me hope every single day.

I find late evenings the worst. Bad news seems to come across the airways around the time that darkness is drawing in.

I would love to say I have caught up on painting the house or a load of baking for the freezer. But, no, that has not happened.

I remember my grandmother talking of the flu of 1917-18 (my own mother was born in 1916) and many died back then too. Of course, medicine was not as advanced as it is now. There was also way less communication, so I suspect it was all over before the final details came through.

Plan B

We as farmers are lucky. We have our work on our doorstep and keeping our distance is not too difficult. We have yards and fields where we can walk. But there is also an added fear. That of who works the farm if the main person gets ill?

There is a shortage of people who know enough about farm work to take it on

I know we should have a plan B in place, but even with many off work there is a shortage of people who know enough about farm work to take it on. Neighbours have their own pressures. So this is an added worry.

I think it is a time when many of us have turned to prayer. It gives us hope as we move towards Easter Sunday.

Will the world and our country be a different place when this is over? It will be for a while I think.

And it will have changed forever for those who lose loved ones. I think we will be slower to take for granted what we have. And it will leave us more fearful.

A year ago, we would have laughed if we were told the world would be in lockdown as it is now.

I hope we will always remember our frontline workers and our farmers. And I hope everyone backs local businesses around the country as they strive to recover out the other side of all of this.

Marian Dalton farms with her husband Eamon in Carlow. She sits on the IFA rural development committee and is a regular attendee at the Irish Country Living Woman & Agriculture conference.

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