So here we are Mayday, 1st of May 2021, after what can only be called “an abberation” of a year. This time last year, I was still in home-based quarantine in Lynster House after finally getting out of New Zealand on my birthday, April 19th. I had only arrived there mid March and 5 days later I was in deepest of lockdowns (not even a post office, bank or $2 dollar shop open). Three attempts later (and thousands of dollars extra lost on cancelled airfares) I eventually arrived back on 20th April to Ireland. Only one of three people on the 32 Expressway Dublin to Letterkenny bus, I was struck by the desolation on the M1 and could count the vehicles on fingers and toes with every passing 20 mins or so.

I own two businesses, www.kiwicountryclothing.ie (which incorporates my health shop, www.possiehealth.ie) and my charming guest house www.lynsterhouse.com. Both, of course, furloughed during the first (and second, and subsequent third) lockdown.

Kiwi Country Clothing, in itself, is a remarkabele story of starting a high-end business, in the middle of a deep recession, with product which can only be sourced from New Zealand. Smart idea Elizabeth!! Would I do it again? probably not, says she…. Would I do it again? Most definitely, but differently! says “herself”.

But enough of Kiwi Country Clothing and Possie Health for now. ( I expect to start a blog page on that website in the autumn).

Lynster House got its name due to its door knocker, bought as a gift by visiting friends from New Zealand who stayed with us Christmas /New year of 2005/2006. Once upon a time long long ago, I had a reputation as a fairly OK harpist/harper, having won a couple of national titles. I also held a degree in classical music and Irish language, literature from UCD. I had been a secondary school teacher in St Louis, Carrickmacross, a career which I loved and enjoyed immensely from 1986 until 1999. In the summer of 1998 I careered off on a round -the-world trip, ending up in New Zealand. Returing for school three months later, a kiwi guy (PDNZ) followed me home. The res, as they say, is history.

Anyways, back to the naming of christening of Lynster House…. the aforementioned door knocker, I insisted, would never see the light of day on the front door as I had a dis-inclination to all things OIRISH (shamrocks, shilleleighs, cheap touristy harps, green Guinness and the like).

One day, in my absence from the house, my husband (PDNZ) instructed our carpenter to affix said door knocker on the frontdoor. The very next day, a long standing and trusted friend (with a wry wit and lack of diplomacy) chastised as she remarked on seeing said knocker “where do you think you are???? Lynster House!? That was it! the house had a name, but not merely a name…. it had an identity. and a catch phrase…. Lynster House…”the Alternative Debating Chamber”!

The “Bean-an Ti” (gaelic for lady of the house) had a reputation over the years for hosting dinner parties in her previous home, 48 Tully, where often the topics of conversation were hotly debated, contested and indeed there could be uproarious laughter, caustic comments by the truckload and levels of erudite discussions the Dail chamber could enoly ever dream about (there more commonly found in the “upper house” aka The Seannad. No matter… the kitchen in 48 Tully was a debating chamber like no other. So in the summer of 2006 Lynster House finally had a title and its own identity. (TBC)