Máire Ní Bhraonáin is presenter of TG4's Peil na mBan Beo and she is also a teacher. "I hope in the weeks to come, that we can all maintain our energy and passion and appreciate those whom we are close to," she says.
When lockdown was announced, and schools were closed from Friday March 13, Microsoft Teams became the norm for the staff and students of Gonzaga College SJ (Dublin). Teaching from home initially proved challenging but with adjustments, learning for students became meaningful, varied and more practical. While the structure of classes was hugely beneficial in keeping a daily routine, I really missed the classroom and staff interactions.
In the mornings, I continued to listen to Morning Ireland and after classes, I was fortunate to be able to contribute to interviews with RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, BBC Gaeilge and Newstalk throughout that period. The weather was beautiful and I took full advantage of living in Sandymount beside the sea. Each evening I ran, walked, cycled and read in glorious sunshine. I set myself a challenge of 30 days of Yoga Friends and it was a nice way to continue to feel both connected and accountable. I kept in contact with family and friends by phone, email and post.
Charity fundraisers have always been important to me and I took part in a fundraiser for Pieta House organised by my local club at home, Milltown GAA and Le Chéile do Moili an initiative from Mícheál Breathnach CLG, Indreabhán in Connemara.
I read Michelle Obama's autobiography Becoming and really liked it it. It gave a great insight into her youth, her work ethic and of course the time spent in the White House. I also read The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley and William Trevor's Selected Stories. I began completing The Irish Times crossword each day and found it slotted into my daily routine with sea view and a cup of coffee. At the weekend, I read The Sunday Business Post to keep informed about politics and world news.
I played basketball in secondary school and after college and loved watching The Last Dance on Netflix. Each episode really delved into the inner workings of the Chicago Bulls and the phenomenal achievements of Michael Jordan. In the absence of live sport, I was glued to GAA Gold and Rugbaí Gold on TG4. I enjoyed watching films at weekends particularly Groundhog Day, The Irishman and The Breakfast Club.
In June, I returned home to Galway to help my parents and auntie Marian take care of my Granny Bridie who was very ill. Sadly, she died on June 23 in her 102nd year. I will be forever thankful to have been home for that time. It was very special to play and sing her favourite songs with my family and cousins at her funeral Mass, celebrated in her rose garden. When lockdown ended, I was delighted to get back playing football for my local club Milltown and prepare for the new season with Peil na mBan Beo.
Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte. I've always found that seanfhocal reminds me to be grateful for my good health. I hope, in the weeks to come, that we can all maintain our energy and passion and appreciate those whom we are close to.
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Schools, sports clubs and society in general, can see how much we can achieve when we work collectively and help one another. This is a short section from the reflection at my grandmother's funeral mass and I think it's something that can resonate with all of us.
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.
Peil na mBan Beo is live on TG4 on Saturday evenings from now until the final on Sunday December 20.